You’ve got a prospect. Now how will you convert them to a client?
The amount of time, energy and sweat it takes to attract legitimate prospects these days is getting more intense as are the pool of those vying to win those same clients. Never before has their been a need for clear and effective strategies to turn those rare finds into lasting relationships. At Breviti, we call this prospect care, an often overlooked opportunity in the sales cycle. The sober realization is that in today’s business climate your competition is working hard to make sure you don’t acquire any of their prospective business. They are wooing, coaxing, and convincing your prospects into believing that they’re the right choice and you are the devil. The key? You have to be more aggressive and you have to treat your prospects better than the rest.
By committing to a sustainable methodology you can position yourself so well that your potential customers will view your competition as mute…a non-entity…a virtual nothing. This is your goal. Here are a few tips.
- First, before you lift a finger, make the decision that any potential new relationship is not about what you can get. It’s about what you can give. The world has enough self-seeking, self-centered, self-driven people as it is. Operate in a posture of servanthood, and you will instantly be in the top 10% of providers. The fact is, clients can sniff out “me focused” sales people a mile a way. In a nutshell, if you’re out for yourself, you’ll wind up, well, by yourself.
- Before you meet with a potential client, research the company, its people, products and its competition. It’s impressive when you are knowledgeable of the company and the competition’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s even more impressive when you can speak from the mindset of the customer. The Web is a rabbit trail into every conceivable bit of research you’d need and you always have your network to tap into… someone, always knows someone.
- Prior to your presentation, find out what is relevant, what they’re specific needs are and base your entire presentation on this information. People are busy and don’t need to hear your brag points, especially if they don’t relate to their objectives. They need to hear a well thought out pitch that “wows” them, otherwise they’re snoring and you’re losing. Sometimes we like to talk about accomplishments to the point of accomplishing nothing but angering the prospect.
- Depending on the contact, bring something into the meeting that is fun. A box of Crispy Cream Donuts never fails. Bring some stress balls with the preface that if they decide to go with someone else, they’re going to need them. Many creative products are available for you to use. Often their industry will be a clue. For example, if they’re a fishing company, get them a fish novelty. Or if you’re in the investment business and you’re visiting a bakery, get them a pile of fake money and tell them you’ll make them lot’s of dough. Rough ideas, very rough in fact, but you get the point, get creative.
- At the beginning of your presentation, ask ALL attendees what their expectations are of the meeting. It gets people talking and allows you time to stratify the most critical meeting points. And at the end of the meeting, ask if all expectations have been met. You’d be surprised at how many sales professionals do not exercise this gem. It is truly the essence of sales success.
- Always follow-up after a meeting by mailing something unique to your prospect. Perhaps you notice they’re into coffee. Send a pound of exotic coffee with a clever note such as “Thought you’d enjoy some coffee while you percolate over your decision. The key here is to notice things around their office and ask questions to find what they like. Then deliver. This is magic in the world of business – caring enough to be different.
- While the prospect is in the decision process, send them information of value that will help them in their business, their life or their decision making process. During your presentation you’ll hear pain points that you can write down. Later, research articles that will help them overcome these pain points, and e-mail them over.
- Need I say to always e-mail a thank you note or send a handwritten thank you or card.
- If you have the capacity to send them some business or refer a vendor that might be of value to them, by all means do it. Be careful here. A bad referral will cost you the business and your reputation. A good referral can often make the difference.
- Even if they select another vendor instead of you, put them on your e-mail list and send them information of value regularly. Research shows that 20-40% of all new competitor relationships end quickly, depending on the industry, and when they do, they’ll often remember your professionalism.
In closing, point #1 about truly caring for your clients can and should drive you to do some or all of the above. The truth is, practicing a high percentage of the 10 keys indicates your level of commitment to standout. Not practicing them will have simply counted out and eventually knocked out!