Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes courtesy of Mike Kamo, VP of marketing at Strideapp, a cloud-based CRM and mobile app designed to help small to medium sized agencies manage and track leads and close more deals. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeKamo.
Some say selling is an art form. Others claim sales is a science. I believe there is a bit of both in the craft of salesmanship. There is one element that is common to each side of the debate. Obvious, pushy selling tactics do not work, and they really haven’t for quite some time.
Digital channels have put the consumer in control - and she knows it. Effective selling has to be done at the pace, volume, and access points that consumers choose. People are savvy enough to know when they are being “sold a bill of goods”. If you’re going to win at sales, you have got to sell without actually selling.
Here are 6 fundamental selling tips central to making meaningful contact with with customers:
1. Research Your Customer. Today, digital marketers talk about data being important to delivering a personalized marketing experience. The same holds true for the sales experience. Your prospective customers likely know why you’re contacting them. So find out all you can before you make contact. Find out about the company, find out about your contact person (without triggering a stalking alert!). Let your prospect know you are interested in their needs, interests and values. Flying blind is no way to approach a new opportunity, folks.
2. Research Your Customer’s Industry. Examine key attributes such as competitors, industry regulations, and typical marketing channels. Find out how your potential customer compares to others in its region and markets. Researching a customer’s industry can pay benefits during the first call and after you close the deal. When you are knowledgeable about a customer’s business, you’re more likely to gain trust and help build a relationship.
3. Create an “on task” bulletted script. Being prepared at the time a call can be the make-or-break tactic that leads to future calls. While candid, more personal, conversation may be essential to establishing a building the relationship, it’s good to keep the discussion “on task”. While you don’t have to write out a complete dialogue, it is a good idea to jot down some bullet points about your prospect, your brand, and your products or services. It can be helpful to create a “structure” for the call — one that includes time for informal conversation.
A few tactics to keep in mind during a sales call include:
4. Be personal in your approach. Put your research to work. Make a personal connection during the call by mentioning a common interest, experience or personal belief. While it’s inappropriate to get TOO personal with customers, there are probably plenty of topics that can create a “bond”. Look for common themes in topics such as pets, location, or weather.
5. Understand your customer’s needs clearly.Make sure you’re asking questions more than you are making statements during most calls. Learn about the business needs that your solutions will fulfill. Uncover your customer’s goals, budget, challenges, timeline, etc. to get a clear picture of her buying process. Every call is an opportunity to get to know them better.
6. Always aim to provide value. Whether it’s a response to a request for information or a “touching base” call, provide your contact with something that is worthwhile to their job, decision-making process, or business needs. Don’t waste their time, or yours!
Successful salespeople know that success is not bestowed on the loudest voice with the most to say in the room. It’s the salesperson best prepared to know his prospect and respect his control of the buying process who typically closes the deal. Take these steps toward getting to know your customer and building trust, and you should find your sales calls more productive.
How does your marketing team empower your sales effectiveness? Check out the Grande Guide to Social Selling for more insights into how to make your connections more meaningful.