One of the key issues our clients are facing when they come to us for strategic support and sales training is not being able to make the most of the opportunities they’ve generated.
So many of our clients tell us that they’ve got plenty of leads and they’re getting loads of enquiries, but when they pitch to these prospects they aren’t winning business from them and they just can’t work out why. So we thought we’d address three of the biggest issues.
1. You’re Pitching! If you’re addressing your leads as an opportunity to pitch for work, your sales attitude is fundamentally flawed. The majority of businesses don’t agree to speak with you or meet you in order to spend an hour listening to you talk about how great your business is. They want you to deliver genuine business value that is specific to their needs.
Sales meetings aren’t about you, they’re your opportunity to learn about the prospect, their business and their requirements. Until you’re confident that you really understand what they need, you’ve got no reason to think you can solve their problems. Whether it’s a meeting or a phone call, remember that if you start to pitch you’re probably not going to win the business: make it all about them and match your solution to their issues.
2. They’re Not the Right Person! So often we hear the reason a meeting hasn’t resulted in a sale is because “they need to speak to their Director and will get back to me”. This is a very understandable situation – most businesses have a structure and a senior decision maker to give the final sign off. Unfortunately for you, the person you met had a fantastic meeting with is not going to give the same level of detail and excitement when they translate it back to their boss.
However, the key issue is much more fundamental than that: you’re talking to the wrong person! If they have to get sign-off from the person above them, why aren’t you speaking that person in the first place? One of the biggest reasons sales cycles are often far longer than they need to be is a failure to understand the decision making unit. Taking time during the first few conversations to understand how purchasing decisions are made will save hours, weeks even months of re-selling, chasing and generally wasting everyone’s time.
3. You’re Not Following-up! It’s frightening how often businesses attend a meeting or make a sales call and then… wait. “They’re going to come back to me when they’ve decided”. Are they? Or are all the little things that make up their job going to get in the way of their good intentions until they’ve completely forgotten they’d ever needed your service.
Not only does a strong follow-up process to sales activities keep you front-of-mind and help you retain some control of the sales decisions, it also demonstrates to your prospects that you really care about working with them. Unless you demonstrate how important someone’s business is to you, you’re never going to be important enough to them to win their business.
Next time you come back from a sales opportunity and they aren’t going to say “yes”, ask yourself which of the three points above you haven’t covered, chances are there’s at least one thing missing.
By Robin Mason, Co-Creator of Elation Sales, bespoke sales team training, sales process & planning and outsourced sales campaigns.