Insights from the field of Selling
If you haven't noticed, we are all in inside sales now. It's not what we all signed up for but businesses and people are versatile and adaptive beings. We weren't more than a month in to the pandemic when entire workforces commandeered their dining room table and learned how to link Zoom to their calendar. If you were lucky you found a good webcam on amazon and you arranged for the right lighting and background for when you're online.
POINT - it's harder to get in front of prospects with the same impact and connection. So now what?
For those of you who've followed this blog you know I'm a big fan of sales process. Well now the chickens have come home to roost and validated and repeatable sales process is now a must. With coffee talk meetings off the table for the most part, we need to engage and persuade prospects to take an idea journey with us via the web. Here are 5 steps to make the process of engaging prospects easier and more productive:
1. Think Prospect Enablement vs. Cold Calling: If you really want to make every interaction count, come back to your segmentation. You cant afford to be with someone that's not right. Become issue fluent in their market challenges, their employer's value chain and the demands of their specific role. Bone up on that and use the messaging that flows to book meetings that make sense.
2. Be bold with the calendar: If you've uncovered a true pebble in your prospect's shoe and there's tight alignment with your solution, ask for a meeting. But communicate its value in doing so. Be ready with the answer to this fill in the blank statement: "You spend 20 minutes with me online and you will get __________ (this insight) now and walk away with a better ability to _________ ."
3. Sell the verb, not the noun: Example - "Hi Teri, it was great to connect on LinkedIn last week and thanks to Frank Harper for the introduction. Prospects are coming to us for ways to inject more sustainability into their supply chain. I had shared our work with Frank and he thought we would have a spirited conversation. If you share your email I'd be happy to set up a 20 minute call to discuss." The verb is what you're "injecting" - the specific value you're adding. Once you get the email, send a Zoom invite immediately and let the prospect adjust if need be. Since we're all working remotely, people have more flex in their calendars. Work 10 days to two weeks out.
4. Rough layouts sell better than finished ones: This is one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned in solution selling. Work harder to collaborate with prospects on solving the right problem vs. pitching your solution. With that in hand, the next step is a high level approach that entails the prospect's spoken words, interwoven with the credibility that communicates that you and your firm have done this before. For detailed approaches, set another meeting for a deep dive after you've shared a more final version of a proposal. Why so long to go to final? If it's too final, too soon, prospects can feel locked out. Most want to have a point of view and see their fingerprints on something they'll ultimately have to sell internally.
5. Schedule the 6-point closing meeting: Most salespeople forget to bring the prospect back to the driving force for how the relationship got to this point. It's hard for salespeople to realize the prospect is not looking at your pipeline! They are living in today. So bring them back:
1. Executive summary of the relations ship - the catalyst and the depth
2. Dates and times of all of your interactions and with whom - you've both left no stone unturned
3. The "ah ha's" around the value you both discovered together - the prospect's spoken words
4. Any resistance that you encountered and its resolution. We are not re-litigating the case!
5. Your offer and investment
6. An easy next step.
For more information or to learn how your team can get more face time with prospects in the era of remote work, contact Bill Walton at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Bill Walton Sales Training has over 60 years of collective Fortune 500 company experience in Sales, Sales Training and Field Sales Management. Our specialty is preparing individuals and organizations to present their value propositions in a way that results in higher close ratios. Our team are un-blurring the lines of differentiation between their client's fiercest competitors.