We’ve all been there. You’ve had a really positive meeting with the potential customer. They’ve asked you for a quote. You’ve given them a good price - and then you never hear from them again!
One of the biggest issues that sales directors raise when they attend MLP’s Sales Managers Masterclass course is the disparity between their teams’ success in gaining opportunities to quote and their ability to convert those leads into sales.
It’s a problem that affects seasoned salespeople and less experienced professionals alike, and many are surprised to find how quickly conversation rates can be improved simply by being less process driven and more open to treating each sale as an individual project.
Taking sales people away from their comfort blanket of a routine sales process can be challenging and requires a high degree of trust from the sales director, but these tips for success could pay dividends:
1. Only quote if you need to
While generating a quote may be part of the critical path in your sales process, it may simply give the customer long enough to shop around or change their mind about buying from you. If they don’t need a formal quote, don’t delay, just have a go at closing the deal. In my experience, the confidence and initiative to bypass the quote stage can rapidly improve your conversion rates and it would be a shame to miss the deal because of a fear of rejection!
2. Build the customer’s trust
One of the most common sales mistakes is to focus the lion’s share of time in closing the deal rather than investing it up front on building trust and rapport with the customer. Only by building that relationship can you ensure that they have a compelling reason to buy from you.
3. Provide the right kind of quote
Every sales person knows that asking the right questions is critical to a successful sale but having asked the questions, you also need to make the answers count.
Find out whether they’d prefer a hard copy quote or a digital copy? Ensure you know what they’re prepared to pay for and don’t overcomplicate the quote or include ‘hidden costs’ that could damage the trust you’ve worked hard to build.
4. Create deadlines and stick to them
Customers have a time window in which they need to make a decision and part of the skill set of a sales professional is to understand the sales timeline for each customer. You also need to set deadlines for each part of the process - specify when you will provide the quote and when you’ll follow up and then stick to those dates.
5. Nurture a no blame culture
Poor conversion rates are often allowed to become a league table of failure for sales teams, which is demoralising and counter-productive. It’s a team issue that needs to be tackled with a continuous improvement approach and that can only happen by learning from best practice and reviewing mistakes rather than apportioning blame.
From pre-quote, through to quote format and post-quote follow up, the sales process should be flexible enough to respond to individual customer situations and the sales team will convert more successfully if they have the freedom to follow their instincts.