Closing Deals More Frequently
Work smarter and generate sales with ease.
Consistent sales follow-up is important to convert a prospect into a buying customer. But all too often, businesses waste time chasing prospects that never buy or they don’t follow-up after capturing a qualified lead. The goal is to work smarter, not harder. Building a systematic process allows a business owner to leverage his or her salespeople’s time and enhances their productivity.
“These days virtually any small business can put in systems that parallel their big business rivals,” says Scott Schilling, sales trainer and author of Without Customers … Ya Got Nothin’!
Qualify Sales and Prospect Leads Like a Pro
If you and your sales team are struggling with sales prospecting, here’s how you can close more business with less effort. It doesn't have to be a difficult, you may just need to re-frame your approach.
Qualify your customers first. Understanding the challenges your customers are facing can shorten the time it takes to close the sale. “Far too often they’re trying to close a sale that was never opened in the first place or make an offer to somebody who has no desire whatsoever,” Schilling says. “Cats get upset when you try to sell them dog food,” he adds, underscoring the importance of understanding a prospect before trying to sell them something. Ask questions to find out their needs, desires, and pain points so you can help them find the right solution. For further details on generating leads, take a look at our article on using social media to increase sales.
Develop a Consistent Communication Strategy for Prospecting Sales
Continue to fine-tune your process for creating relationships via email, and communicate these objectives to your staff as they shift. This approach will assist in creating a unified front internally and you’ll know that employees will have a reliable procedure to follow.
Put it on autopilot. “Automate the way you nurture and move prospects through your selling cycle,” Schilling says. With today’s technology, implementing an auto response follow-up system to communicate with your leads, prospects, and customers is a breeze. Craft e-mail messages specific to each stage of the sale cycle that speaks directly to their needs. Free or low-cost services such as MailChimp, Constant Contact and AWeber can help you with this. Each time you send out an e-mail, direct mail, or make a telephone call, it should build on the previous message. After sending your welcome e-mail, follow-up two or three days later to reinforce the benefits outlined in your first e-mail. If the prospect still doesn’t respond, try following up several days later and include bonuses to excite them. The number of emails you send out as part of your follow-up sequence is up to you. Even if they don’t buy, ask why? The feedback can help you update your messaging and get some proprietary feedback on your product and/or services.
Add Value to New Relationships and Sales Leads
Delivering useful content at each stage of the relationship helps to enrich new bonds and can become an important means of developing trust with new clients.
Offer quality opportunities. Interruption marketing, such as a cold call is an annoyance to some customers. Instead, offer them an eBook, webinar, informational how-to articles or events – anything that can help them with a direct need in their business. Then, provide them with a next step offer or a call to action. Focus on creating quality relationships and being seen as a trusted outlet. That alone can result in a sale. “When you walk your prospect through the selling process, your relationship with them should become progressively stronger,” explains Schilling.
Attend to Customer Needs and Close the Sale Organically
As your relationship with your prospect matures, their confidence in you will naturally grow. New customers will begin to expect being invited to make a purchase.
Ask for the sale. Closing your sale should be a natural conclusion of presenting a position, says Schilling. When it feels natural, ask the prospect what they think instead of continuing to sell and push a product past the point where they’re already convinced. When you’re presenting the solutions to their needs, they will close the sale for you.
After the Deal Is Closed, Convert the Client into a Sales Channel
The afterglow of a new sale can be a great moment to seek out new sales opportunities. Ask your client to help spread the word. They’re well positioned at that moment to offer up well-qualified prospects, so ask for them.
Canvass for referrals. Don’t miss an opportunity to get a warm lead to a new prospect. According to studies, customers trust word of mouth marketing more than paid media. In fact, a 2013 study from Nielsen reports that 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. Syncapse, a technology company that uses social media data to help brands achieve smarter marketing strategies, reported that 85 percent of fans of brands on Facebook are likely to recommend brands to others. When you have a customer turned ambassador, make sure to leverage that relationship. It is one of the least expensive ways to retain new customers and can shorten your sales cycle.
Fine-Tune Your Sales Cycle Approach upon Follow-Up
Circling back to your customer doesn’t have to be difficult when a plan is in place. Build a structured process that gives your sales staff guidance on approaching the client in order to understand their satisfaction with their purchase. Pursue leads and qualified channels and remember to continue to deliver value-added content on a scheduled basis.
Following up with sales leads is a common problem that many small businesses face, but it doesn’t have to be. “Reframe your thinking about sales,” says Schilling. Automate your communications, prospect through referrals, and get to know your customers. Taking the time to develop a good follow-up system is an invaluable process that will save you time and will help you close more sales with less effort.
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