In 2020, it seems like every sales step needs to have a set time on the calendar with a virtual meeting.
Often, when people don’t show up, we are immediately enraged and think of a variety of curse words to compliment their non-attendance. Most of us give up and simply send another “Did you get caught up?” email, which of course falls upon deaf ears. Instead, we want to be picking up the phone as much as possible to not only ask for updates, but preferably to add value in the sales process.
For instance we can use the phone to
- Call an hour before a meeting to confirm the attendance of the prospect
- Notify the prospect of important news to do with their company or their hobbies and interests
- Let them know you prepared something extra and you would like their opinion on it
Highlight that you are nearby and if they would like a coffee or some pastries delivered
Ideally you want to be adding value, but also remember it’s normal to be human and simply to want to foster a relationship through genuine conversation. What can harm you is simply calling to “see if they are going ahead” or “if they have spoken to their boss,” conversations which are completely deal centric and can make you seem artificial and transactional.
To complement this, think about using letter writing, sending gifts, or making custom objects to really let the prospect know you want to win their business. You want to be known as the person who brings joy, interest, creativity, and a wealth of knowledge to, not only their lives, but the colleagues around them.
There is no “me” only “them”
Commission. Attaining quota. Getting the signature. These are all “Me” things that “I” need to succeed.Who is this most apparent to? The prospect. Every person can sense that you need the sales, perhaps just as much, if not more, than the prospect needs the product. Instead, you need to let go of this self-centric ideology and focus completely on “them.”
What would make this meeting the most productive for you? What do you need to show your team members internally? What did you like the most? What could I improve on for you?
We don’t want to be too subservient with our language, tone, and demeanor, however we want to ensure that the focus is always on the customer and their needs at all critical junctures. Many people ask, “What happens if the customer is thinking in a way that isn’t strategic or not in a relevant area?
The key to overcoming this is to ask questions that provoke the customer to see your point of view using their own logic. I call this process extraction. Let’s look at this a little more closely.
I am trying to sell a customer a phone with a new feature which allows them to video call their customers, however they prefer the old cord phone they’ve had for the last 20 years. 99% of sales people “tell” the customer why they should change: “It is the latest and greatest phone”. “Think of all the people you could build rapport with”. “Everyone is doing it”.
Instead, what we can do is use extraction to arrive at a more strategic outcome
- Salesperson: I see you like your corded phone, do you also like to meet people in person?
- Prospect: Yes, it is 100x more personal.
- Salesperson: Are there ever clients that are too far away to travel to, especially now with all that is going on in the world?
- Prospect: Yes, I try to make the effort, but sometimes I can’t get to them all with a limited workforce and all that is on my plate.
- Salesperson: When you can’t make it in person, wouldn’t it be amazing to see them and go through their problems, while they could see you in return? They could still hear your voice and you could do a lot more with the saved time. I know time is important to you as you just mentioned you have a lot on your plate!
- Prospect: I see your point.
Moving from a “Me” focused approach to a “Them” focused approach takes time, but you should practice extraction with your internal team members. Try to change each others’ views by framing points from their perspective.