It is the moment of truth for every salesperson. The lead you’ve been chasing for four weeks, through 20 emails, and 8 phone calls finally makes a decision: they aren’t going to buy. You worked your best sales magic and the sale still fell through. Can you pinpoint how to improve and close more deals?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It is an unfortunate, yet common reality in the world of sales. Leads dry up. Prospective customers fall to the wayside. We make mistakes (I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made a few of my own over the years!).
Experience teaches us to move on and push through, but it doesn’t always teach how to change our approach so that we get better at connecting with leads and closing sales. Developing your skills as a salesperson doesn’t have to be difficult or unattainable. My approach to sales has changed dramatically over the years, for the better, and so can yours. Want to surpass your quotas, stay ahead of the changing landscape, and see consistent sales growth? Here are 9 best practices to connect with leads, make sales, and close more deals.
In sales, it is easy to focus on the end result and the pressure to get the deal done! The truth is, what you have to offer the prospective customer, the value you provide is what the customer cares about most. Understand the ins and outs of what you are selling and how it can benefit all range of prospective customers. If you believe that your product or service is exactly what they need, it will be easier to give your leads the relevant information that will convince them of the value your company provides.
In other words, listen to your customer’s needs. Every lead you touch has a need, and it’s best not to assume you already understand your prospect and their needs. People like to know they are being heard (and understood). The best way to do that? Ask questions! What are their business goals? What obstacles do they face each day? The more you understand what burdens they face, the better you can present the value of your product or service.
Most buyers want to know price, understand the mechanics of the product or service, and discuss timeline in the first contact! Be forthright with your information and you’ll immediately start to build trust and credibility. Inspire confidence in your company, product, and your role as a salesperson. Know your product and be confident in your responses. Don’t try to wow your prospect, connect with them.
Salespeople that follow-up with potential leads quickly are more likely to close a sale. Whether you are responding to a phone call, email, form submission, or social media message, offering a quick solution, answer, or information ensure you are catching your lead in their moment of interest. Wait too long, and that moment could pass.
How many touches does it take to close a sale? More than you think. While data tells us anywhere from 8 to 18 touches are necessary, the number really depends on the lead. Every potential customer is different, and the amount of contact they need before feeling ready to make a purchase can vary drastically. The average salesperson only makes two attempts to reach a lead. In a world where 8-18 attempts at contact lead to more sales, the average salesperson is giving up far too soon. It’s time to get the most out of your leads! If you’ve given a lead 8 touches, and they still haven’t purchased, set it aside for a time and then make the ninth touch.
More than half of your buyers are millennials, which means your demographic has officially shifted whether you realized it or not. Knowing your audience increases your sales potential dramatically. While marketing focuses on targeting a specific audience, your job in sales is to know how to communicate with them. For instance, most B2B buyers watch videos during their buying process. Sales contact doesn’t always have to be a phone call and a long conversation about your product. Once you know your leads, you can send them relevant information that will encourage them toward a purchase. Offer customer reviews, interviews with past clients, videos about your product, and data that reinforces the value your company brings to the table. Bring knowledge relevant to your lead to convert them and close more deals.
Don’t wait until the last quarter to contact your leads. Research shows that consistent contacts throughout the year generate more sales than an overabundance of calls at the end of the year. Having a healthy follow-up schedule can help you keep track of how often you’ve been in contact with a potential customer. While some companies may still work from lead cards and filing systems, there are many great ways to keep track of prospective customers and capture new ones. For companies selling large ticket items or B2B sales, an intuitive CRM is helpful in tracking each customer and lead, and ensuring you can pick up the conversation right where you left off. However you keep track of your leads, consistency is key!
Making a phone call, sending a letter, and meeting prospective clients face-to-face are still great sales methods. Ignoring the value of sales emails and social media, however, would be a detriment to your numbers. Remember when we found out that half of your buyers are millennials? That means at least half of your audience is online, eager and ready to engage with your product or service via social media, messaging, and text. Connecting with your leads and making those valuable touches can look like sharing an article, commenting on a social media post, or making a referral. With the advent of social media, our opportunities for sales referrals grew exponentially. Even strangers and unseen leads become sources of referrals and marketing. When someone sees a product they like on social media, they will save it, share it, or pass it on to a friend they know would be interested in it right away. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to meet your leads where they are at, so you can convert them to customers and close more deals.
Every lead is a unique opportunity to hone your sales skills, learn something new, connect with another human being, and further your company’s business. Imagine your leads are like your kids. When our kids have a passion, we coach them and encourage them, and try to help them discover their hidden potential. Your leads are the same. Every lead has the potential to become a customer. Sometimes you have to work with them, coach them, educate them on your product. You coax from them their fears and obstacles and eventually understand their real needs. And then, rather than forcing your product or service on them, you try to help them meet that need. Value those leads, even the ones that you want to give up on after two attempts. You won’t regret it!
Increasing the sales you close has everything to do with how you approach your leads and sales in general. But as I said before, improving your skills doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by learning and implementing these 9 steps into your everyday sales routine. Close more deals by bringing value, relevant information, consistency, and a listening ear to your leads and watch them become valued customers.