March 31, 2015
There’s more to lead generation than just cold calling.
Nowadays most companies have an inside sales team of some sorts that react to incoming calls and other engagement opportunities.
In today’s world, it’s necessary for you to combine your outgoing strategic prospecting with identifying ways to engage with people who are providing you with incoming leads.
It’s the engagement of the lead that should determine the time, effort and creativity you put into dealing with it. The more engaged the prospect is with your company, the greater the chances of helping them learn how you can help their business.
Examples of this engagement could include:
A quick response to this kind of engagement will set the expectations of the prospect. If you can get back to them while they are still on your website then even better!
The research shows that the percentage of people who open these emails is in single figures, so they may be the ones who are really interested or curious. A straightforward ‘thanks for your interest’ email back may open up some more opportunities, then a follow-up with ‘we have helped companies like yours, so maybe we can help you too’ might open up a few more.
This will help you to detect proactively what they are looking for. A simple question on social media may well lead to something more, especially if you responded in a friendly manner rather than just making a sales pitch. Something like ‘Hey there, if you want to know more about this xxx, just let me know’ won’t put any pressure on; it may be the answer they were looking for.
Whether it’s good or bad news, it is a prospective customer who made the link. If it’s because of a bad experience, being able to turn it round quickly could make a real difference to their future buying process. If it’s a good mention, it’s an idea to thank that person and see if there’s any way you can encourage them to look further at your company
What a great way to show your ability to assist them in knowledge or background of your company or products. No need to do overt selling; just add valuable information to the twitter feed so they feel you are interested in them, rather than just trying to get their money
Always, always thank them for their request and ask how you could be helpful in the future to them. The fact they have requested to link up with you rather than the other way round, shows a definite interest in wanting to stay in touch. Don’t just jump in after connecting with a brochure-type sales pitch; instead, send them items of value for their industry or their specific company. That way, you will show them it was a good idea to link up and it won’t run the risk of being just another dead number in your LinkedIn profile
These are great opportunities to build your prospect base. Thank the person as soon as you see it. Identify the level they work at within their company. See what else you have that might be of interest to them. Their response will have been for some ‘stand-out’ reason, so it will be effective to follow up their interest.
As I said, you need to check out the level of engagement the prospect has with you.
Remember, these are incoming leads from people who have expressed some kind of interest in you or your products and have done something pro-active to tell you as such.
These kind of leads will outweigh any cold-calling leads any day, so make sure your systems allow you to find out about and follow-up on these leads of gold.
MTD Sales Training
(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)
Branding is a key component in determining your success in sales and marketing. You may not think that, as a salesperson, your input to how your brand is perceived or recognised should be a priority; isn’t the experience the customer has with your product and service more important than the reputation of the brand?
Well, in a way, yes, but when you consider what the brand says about your product and service, whether the client continues to purchase from you could be manifestly affected by the way the brand essence is depicted.
So, what is brand essence? It’s the feeling clients and prospects have when they have any contact with your name. In a sense, essence overpowers everything else a prospect may have about you. Your products may be the right things for your customer. But if the brand essence stinks, they won’t touch you with a bargepole.
BrandStoke’s ‘8 criteria for brand essence’ has some interesting ideas to contemplate when considering the message you wish to portray. Here are some examples:
Everything you do will have an impact on the way the brand essence is built in people’s minds. Driving customer engagement through effective branding can have a profound effect on the way you as a salesperson of your products will be viewed.
MTD Sales Training
(Image by Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
There isn’t much in sales that’s more important than your pipeline generation. Without leads, you’re dead in the water, and in order to take control of the quality of leads coming through, and manage them effectively, you need a quality system that will back you up and keep those leads coming to you.
Here are some tips on how to generate and increase your lead generation:
Quality Referral Systems. These must be robust and offer both you and the customer opportunities for more business
Guaranteeing Orders Through Risk-Reversal. This means there is no-risk on behalf of the client actually agreeing to your proposal. You should offer a money-back promise if the product or service doesn’t do what you say it will. You should be baring the risks, so the customer feels they can trust you and not worry about consequences if there are discrepancies in performance
Long-Term Relationship Benefits. There should be a system in place that recognises when a client gives repeat and long-term orders. The longer they sign up to you, the better the results for them and the easier it is for you to manage.
Proper Use Of Directed Direct Mail. This means your list has to be well-defined and that you have a really good chance of hitting the prospects who are in the market for your products. A one in a thousand response rate is a waste of your and their time
Effective Telemarketing. Your marketing approach should offer real, tangible benefits to the companies you are approaching, rather than just being a cold-call approach that undermines the morale of those making the approaches
Hold Special Events Or Information Sessions. These free-of-charge events should add extra value to all prospects. It allows them to see what you can offer and makes it a no-brainer to deal with you. It also gives you a great list of prospects that you can nurture
Develop A Unique Selling Proposition. You have to differentiate yourself in ways that will be beneficial to your prospects. These do not include quality, warranties, speed of delivery and such-like. All your competitors will offer the same. No, these are tangible benefits that the client will get from you that they can’t get from anyone else
Increase The Perceived Value Of What You Offer. You do this by showing the results you will bring to the client. The more they see how their business will thrive and grow by using you, the better your chances of doing business. Perceived value is what they get as a result over the long-term, not the cheapness of your product up-front
Better Client Education. Here, you become the partner to your client by showing your knowledge of their market and guiding them on how to exploit opportunities that you, with your wider experience and research, have found lurking in the undergrowth. They may be too close to the ground to see the opportunities that you can see from your higher position
Increase Your Sales Skills. You do this by researching the new ideas of what works and what doesn’t in today’s market-place. If you’re still selling in the same way as you did five years ago, you are being left behind by those sales professionals who have adapted to the new markets and what is now required to drive businesses forward
Qualify Leads Up-Front. Not every lead will be worth the time and effort to pursue. Be aware of which clients will benefit most from spending time working on, and utilise that time efficiently
Deliver More Than You Promise. Your clients will expect the level of service that’s in your SLA. It’s only by going beyond that level that you will create excellent ‘moments of truth’, situations that will ‘wow’ them and make them delighted they chose you as a partner
Nurture The Relationships Through Quality Communications. This means sending them articles you find that will benefit them, referring them to customers you find on your travels, expanding the contacts within your company and theirs, and making them aware of new opportunities in new markets. This will prove that you’re not contacting them simply to sell more of your stuff…you genuinely are interested in their business success and want them to make more profits
All of these will help you build the business with current clients and attract new prospects to visit you, because you offer something that others don’t….reasons to be loyal and benefit from the long-term relationships that you can nurture.
MTD Sales Training
(Image by Renjith Krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
There are countless tips, tricks and gimmicks on how to begin a cold call. Of course, the majority of these ideas focus on how to get the call started or how to begin the call. Which makes sense, since if you do not get the call started correctly, it is over. However, what most people do not think much about is how to END that cold call.
The End is the Beginning
The way you end the call is as important and sometimes more so, than the way it began. If your goal was to set an appointment, and you did so, what you do and say as you end that call can make the difference on if the appointment happens or the prospect cancels or no-shows.
If you closed an actual sale on the telephone, then your call “Termination Tactics,” are even more critical. Below are three powerful tips to ending the call that will help actualise and materialise what you worked so hard to accomplish during that call.
#1 – Confirm and Summarise
After you have successfully set the appointment or closed the sale, you have to concretely summarise and confirm what happens. I know that sounds like it is automatic and assumed, and that is the problem. Most sales people take this for granted and it is a mistake.
Although, so you mentioned the product and costs ten times, or you talked about the meeting on several occasions during the call, you need to DO IT AGAIN!
“Once again, Sarah, I appreciate your time today and look forward to meeting with you next week. Let me just double check one last time; you will meet me at your office, located at 1234 Bending Road Place, Tuesday, that is the 12st, at 3:00 pm, is that right?”
#2 – Leave a Logical Backup
Remember, people make most buying decisions based on emotion and then justify or “back-up” those decisions with logic. On the telephone, when the prospect has agreed to buy or agreed to the appointment, he or she has made a buying decision, even if it is to buy the meeting. You must leave the prospect with some logic to help them justify or back up their decision after you get off the telephone.
“I want to just reiterate, Ethan, that during that brief meeting next week, I am going to show you exactly how to gain a slight advantage over your competition on the internet and leave you with some extremely valuable information. The meeting will greatly benefit you regardless of if you decide to do business with us or not…”
“Once again, Mary, the fuel adjustment gauges will arrive early next week, and you will see that you sill save a minimum of 24% on your costs starting from day one…”
#3 – Wait for the Prospect to Hang Up First
Lastly, after the good-day pleasantries, wait and let the prospect hang up the telephone first. You do not want the last thing the prospect or new client to hear be a telephone slam down on them. In addition, it is very easy for you to hang up as the prospect begins to say something or ask one last question. Also, you do not ever want it to appear that you were in a hurry to get off the phone. Slow down.
Confirm and summarise. Leave some logic behind and hang up last, and some of those great tips on beginning the telephone call might actually pay off in the end!
MTD Sales Training
Have you downloaded my latest report “The Sales Person’s Crisis”? Over 10,000 sales pros have.
(Image by Ponsulak)
The modern day sales process has changed, and sales professionals across all sectors and industries are having to change the way that they sell in order to engage and interact with the modern day buyer.
The days of the mighty cold call are fading away fast, as the modern day buyer simply doesn’t want to be sold to. Instead, the internet and has become the buyer’s best friend, and they can find out all about your business and compare and contrast you against your competitors all with just a few clicks of a mouse.
The buyer is now in control of the sales process, and knowing how to redress this balance of power is so important for modern day sales professionals and business owners.
Sean McPheat, Managing Director of MTD Sales Training and best-selling author of eselling®, will be presenting a session on the modern day way to sell at the Business Boost 2012 event on June 1st.
In this fun and engaging session Sean will show you how to prospect, position yourself as an expert and sell using the internet and social media. After this session you will go away with an understanding of how the sales process is changing and what you can do to even up the odds with the modern day buyer.
But don’t just take our word for it – here’s what David Brent, from The Office, has to say:
Sean will be joined at the Business Boost 2012 by an array of high impact speakers including Steve Maraboli, Adrian Webster and Sandro Forte. The event is being held at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on June 1st and tickets are going fast, so book now to ensure you don’t miss out – www.businessboost2012.co.uk
Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:
I came across this brilliant infographic from Intel the other day and I just had to share it with you all.
As you can see, some of the statistics in this image are staggering! For me, the following figures really jumped out at me:
And why do these figures in particular stand out to me I hear you ask? Well, put simply, these astonishing statistics go a long way to proving the real value of using social media and the internet within your business. If you are not online, engaging and interacting with your prospects and current client base on these platforms then you are surely missing out – and that is each and every minute of the day!
There are so many ways in which you can use social media and the internet to help you prospect, network and engage with key decision makers online – all you need is the know how. If you would like more information about how you can tap into these fantastic figures and make them work for your own business, then please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.
I talk a lot about qualifying the buyer. You need to spend your time talking to and working with those prospects that CAN do business with you. So you do need to qualify potential buyers to your minimal levels and try to screen out those that may prove to be a waste of time.
However, I find that many sales people go too far with this. Some are so afraid of under-qualifying, they OVER-qualify; eliminating qualified buyers and missing legitimate sales opportunities.
Following are a few tips to help you make sure you are not closing the door on opportunity when it knocks. Depending on what you sell and your sales process, some of these thoughts may not apply, but I think you’ll get the idea.
The Perfect Prospect
You have the image, the exact parameters and the makeup of what is the perfect prospective customer for your product or service. However, you must be careful not to force EVERY prospect to meet those qualifications before you decide to give the opportunity your best effort.
You may think that waiting on that perfect prospect is prudent because you only spend time with “Buyers.” The truth however, is that waiting on the perfect prospect is simply being lazy. That so-called perfect prospect, in most cases, represents the easy, lay-down sale.
Stop waiting for the perfect prospect and start converting marginal prospects INTO perfect prospects. Better yet, start turning marginal prospects into perfect clients!
Minimal Qualifications, Maximum Effort
Define the minimal qualifications a prospect needs to do business with you. Then, give every prospect who meets those qualifications, your best effort in closing the sale. Too often, sales people give less effort and attention to those prospects that do not APPEAR to be of the highest quality. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Do Your JOB!
Usually, part of that over qualifying is due to potential funding or the lack of a pre-established need. In other words, if the prospect does not seem to have a clearly defined budget and readily available funds, or if the prospect cannot yet firmly define the need, then the thought is to pass over this lead.
Think about that though. You want a prospect that already knows exactly what they need, knows exactly what they will spend and has the check ready? If that were the case, then why would any company need you? Why would anyone pay a professional sales person to get that business?
Stop waiting for the prospect to do your job for you.
As a professional sales person, YOU need to uncover the problems. YOU need to expose the need. YOU need to help the prospect with funding.
YOU NEED TO HELP THE PROSPECT BUY. Go to work!
MTD Sales Training
(Image by David Castillo Dominici)
As always, my focus in these Techy Tuesday blogs is to keep you update to date with the latest and greatest ways you can use social media and other internet based resources to prospect, network and engage with key decision makers online – and this week is no different!
This week I have been doing some research into a new LinkedIn application called Company Buzz, to find out if the hype around the new feature is valid and how you can really use it as a legitimate business tool.
As a sales professional or business owner it’s so important to keep on top of your company’s reputation and be aware of any influential changes and developments in your industry, and this is exactly what the Company Buzz application does for your business.
This application is a great tool which combines both your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to display real-time tweets and LinkedIn updates relating to your company and any other specific search terms you request on your LinkedIn profile.
You can search on any word relating to you, your company, your products and services or your industry and see all of the recent tweets and LinkedIn updates related to that term.
You can then narrow down your search results by loads of different categories, including location, company, degree of connection, industry, time frame, update type and job title. You can then save these results and even share them to your profile. Company Buzz also shows you what words and links are currently trending around your chosen search term, and gives you a historical overview of the buzz surrounding your search terms over time.
So now that you know what the Company Buzz application is all about, how can you use it to your advantage?
Well, as with many of the great features LinkedIn has to offer, you can use Company Buzz to prospect, listen in for leads and engage with key decision makers online.
As the application allows you to be so specific with your search results, you can create a search on yourself, your company, or the title of your latest blog post, and then narrow it down to just your first degree connections, in your chosen industry, in a specific location. You can even select just the CEOs or Managers from this selection, and only view the updates which have happen in the last couple of hours…so you are literally getting the most specific and up-to-date view of all those who are talking about you and your company on LinkedIn.
Now that you can see who has been tweeting about you, commenting about your company in the groups, and sharing your latest blog posts on their profile you can go in and engage with these connections directly – using the same techniques as you would implement when engaging with key decision makers through your LinkedIn Groups.
Taking this slightly further, you can choose to view only your second or third degree connections in this same way, and you can then build up a picture of which prospects are already on LinkedIn talking about you and your company, so that you can make an offer to connect with them and engage further with them .
Not only does the Company Buzz allow you keep on top of your company reputation and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry, but when used in the right way it can also provide you with a great way to prospect and engage with key decision makers on LinkedIn.
That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.