Are you good at selling your company, products and services? The majority of sales and marketing managers answer ‘yes’ to this question, but the facts don’t back them up. A recent study by CSO Insights shows that almost 70% of companies aren’t able to generate useful leads. This shouldn’t come as any surprise. Things often go wrong the very first time contact is made. Compare the following conversations:
1. Hello Mrs Brown. It’s Tony Johnson here, account manager for New Technologies. We supply payment systems all over the world. I’m calling because I’d like to discuss how you could speed up payments in your sales outlets and reduce costs. I’d like to arrange an appointment to demonstrate how we can help you with our innovative, integrated systems.
2. Hello Mr Jones. It’s Pete Baker here from New Technologies. I’ve just read that you’d prefer a lower proportion of cash transactions in your shops. We recently completed a project for another retailer who wanted exactly the same thing. And after just four months he saw his cash payments reduced by 19.6%, and in busy periods his sales increased by 5.4% because of the shorter waiting times for customers. Are you free to meet me on Thursday next week to discuss how we can do this for you too?
Which of the above pitches do you think is the most appealing? In order to grab a potential customer’s attention and persuade them to take action, you need more than just a general chat about what your company makes and delivers. You have to put yourself in your prospective client’s environment and market position, and empathize with their challenges, etc.
Potential clients will only make time free for you if they believe you can possibly improve their business. To succeed at this, consider the following principles:
- Understand you prospective client’s challenges and check to see if your products and services can offer a solution
- Speak mainly about the impact on their business, and not about your product or company
- Make sure your employees can adapt their sales pitch to the situation and role of the person they are talking to
Also make sure you adapt your actions to the prospective client’s willingness to buy: they might only want an introductory conversation; maybe they’ll soon be writing a call for tender; or perhaps they signed a contract with a competitor just two months ago?
Focusing on what the client really wants will put you in a better position to make a sale based on value rather than price. This won’t only reduce your sales cost; you’ll also get a better view of your forecast and increase your margin on every deal.