After investing months and days hoping to meet someone who might be your ideal prospect, the very last thing that you want to do is to blow off that opportunity.
Nevertheless, most often, this is exactly what happens, particularly when you and your prospective customer have a short time together while finalizing on your deal.
Therefore, how can you ensure a great meeting instead, one that leads to that critical step in your sales cadence that works for your brand for winning a sale?
Now, mostly like most sellers in the marketplace, you probably feel an overpowering desire and urge to cram in as much as it is possible into this one meeting that you have with your customers.
You feel like that your prospective leads need to know all about your exciting new offering(s), top-notch services, competitive differentiators, exceptional customer support and the unique methodologies that you deploy to create your services or product lines.
In other words which signifies- so much to cover, and that too in so little time?
The Speed Backlash
Whoa! Slow down.
We have all observed that prospects that prospective customer who receives massive information dump involuntarily erect barriers to derail your sales efforts.
This happens because this is exactly what your prospects do not want from you, but still, this is what they typically get from sales reps that are too eager to sell their offerings.
Now how do you know that you are getting a speed backlash?
Therefore, to understand it here are a few things that your prospects may do (one or more than one) of the following:
• They tell you even if they are dissatisfied that all is fine with the current suppliers of their offerings.
• They suddenly raise inconsequential, and stupid reasons why changing from what they are doing now will not work for themselves or their company.
• They ask for the pricing and thereafter tell you that your quotes are too high or there is no money left in their budget.
• They thank you for all your updates and promise to contact you when the need arises (and never get back).
Now does this sound familiar?
Well, it is the result of trying to do too much in one meeting.
Remember, prospective customers will certainly distrust your motives when you do most of the talking, and so despite all your good intentions to educate your prospect they will never get “why” is it worth changing.
According to a research done by Forrester, it has been found that only 15 percent of prospective buyers feel that the sales meetings stand by their expectations, since as you might as well guess, very few of them desired a subsequent meeting with the salesperson who wanted to sell his/her offerings.
Now, that is indeed a very high failure rate, and it happens as a direct result of the seller’s action trying to feed prospects with too much information typically during their first meetings.
Nevertheless, the good news is, it does not have to be that way.
This is because if we follow the right sales cadence and accept the responsibilities for the outcomes mentioned above that we have created; we can easily change what we must do in our initial meetings.
Slower Strategies for Faster Results
One of the most uncomfortable acts for sellers to do is to “slow down” which is actually totally counter to their result-oriented and highly driven sales cultures.
Nevertheless, this is exactly what top sales performers do, since ace sales reps know that getting prospects to change is a slow and deliberate process and it requires a long time:
• Demonstrate that you are not a self-service sales rep, but an invaluable resource for your prospect
• Build a business case to alter the status quo.
• Aid your purchasers to navigate through a complex decision-making process.
• Beat out competitors (especially those that are long-term incumbents).
This is because knowing the right sales cadence, top sellers can put together a one-step-at-a-time workflow that gradually and sure-footed advances the sales process much faster than if they would have wanted to do everything quickly.
IT ALL BEGINS WITH THAT CRUCIAL FIRST MEETING
Now, how you are preparing for your upcoming meeting and conversation with your prospect is one of the greatest factors that decide your success.
Hence never just hop on the phone, show up at your prospect’s office or log onto an online meeting with your prospective customers, since planning for success in sales involves these five “do-not-miss” steps or sales cadence that works for most businesses.
1. Do adequate research
Try to learn as much as you can before the first conversation with your prospective customer. For this review, your prospect’s social media and LinkedIn profiles, their websites, read industry trends and lastly study other buyer personas that reflect on similar customers.
Here are some of the questions that you might consider while doing your research on buyer personas which include:
• What were your prospect’s goals and objectives?
• Which were the challenges and issues your prospect is facing?
• What was the gap that exists where they are today vs. where they want to be?
• What was their possible buyer journey?
(Who were involved in the sale and what justifications were necessary.)
• How your offerings did help them to achieve their objectives?
• What results they have derived from buying from your brand?
2. Establish a logical next step
Even before you first meet your prospect ask yourself what you can realistically hope to succeed in your primary meeting.
Well, you might say to yourself that you would like to close the sale, but we all know that is one thing that is not going to happen.
This is because most sales in today’s marketplace require multiple meetings with several stakeholders whereby interests need to be piqued, competitors evaluated, business cases developed, buy-in achieved and more.
Hence your initial meeting with your prospective customer should be really about creating their curiosity (so that your prospect wants to investigate more about your brand) or include other follow up actions as per your businesses’ sale cadence or do some sort of analysis.
Now that you know the logical next step and acknowledge that doing just this is enough, the question then that arises is what can create this curiosity?
3. Share something interesting
One of the best ways to pique your prospective customer’s interest in your offering is to provide a real example of someone who:
• Holds a similar job, works in a similar industry, at a similar-sized organization and is a consumer of your brand.
• Bring into your conversation someone who was trying to achieve similar objectives like your prospective lead and chose to work with your company.
Make this person a hero of your story and thereafter share the achievements that your customer received since you must always remember your offering is nothing more than a tool and people buy it for what it does for them and therefore showcasing a real person who achieved their desired results can easily hasten your sale.
Else you can also share emerging researches or trends that can impact your buyer and are relevant to what you are selling to them in the marketplace.
For example, you might talk with your C-level executives about Forrester Research discovering that there is more than 85 percent failure rate on initial meetings and thereafter leverage that stat to discuss how their sales reps are doing or what strategies they are using to increase the success rate of their initial meetings.
Now whatever be your approach doing these can easily lead to a very useful and valuable conversation for both parties.
4. Plan your questions
In sales, questions that you do to your prospects is the key to your ultimate success.
Hence, make your questions demonstrate interest and concern so that that your prospective customers feel that you are a knowledgeable person who understands their issuers.
We say this since good questions even provide insights into the needs, behaviors and buying process of the customers, and finally help to develop a strong relationship.
Therefore, plan at least ten good questions ahead of time, write them down and do not forget to ask them once you meet your prospective customers for the first time.
Make your prospects understand that you have invested time preparing for this meeting and you, therefore, have relevant questions to ask that will aid the prospect to determine if buying your offering might “make sense” for them or their organization.
5. This Indeed takes a lot of work and time
Yes doing all these never happen fast and to be truthful at times this can be painfully slow.
In fact, sometimes as a sales rep following the right sales cadence can be so uncomfortable for you that you will be tempted to skip some or all of these steps.
Nevertheless, you must realize that your prospect’s buying process can never be short-circuited.
Hence, if you move to fast and miss your sale cadence problems are sure to arise, which might most like make your opportunities all of a sudden vanish into the thin air.
So never build up another chance to lose any more deals as fast as you can, but rather remodel your sales strategy with an uncomfortable but highly effective sales cadence for rapid business growth.