Just like in sports, when it comes to sales, some people seem to operate in a very different stratosphere. We aren’t all Tom Brady or Serena Williams. Aside from their natural talent, they both put in long hours and a tremendous amount of hard work. They each do a myriad of little and big things that put them in the “great” category. We all know salespeople like this; they have some very specific innate qualities that contribute to their success. However, we can learn and employ techniques that make us better. Techniques that, when used consistently, can yield fruitful results during that first cold appointment.
Think about how difficult it was to get this opportunity in the first place, only to pass on asking for the next step! In only 42% of the cases, the salesperson asks for the next appointment. The biggest reason: the salesperson is uncomfortable.
Assuming this is a prospect the salesperson wants as a client, why is the salesperson uncomfortable asking for the next step?
- They don’t feel they did a good job in the sales meeting.
- They want the prospect to ask for the next step.
- The salesperson struggles to cope with rejection – we are all human, after all.
- They’d rather keep the prospect in the pipeline as opposed to being told no.
Some would prefer to have 100 maybe prospects vs. ten solid prospects – get out of this habit! We are too good at playing mind games with ourselves. Marketing is emotional, and the list of 100 feels good.
Salespeople love facts, figures, features, and benefits (fffb). Do your prospects? People (and yes, prospects are people!) remember how you made them feel.
- 63% of prospects remember stories. Only 5% remember fffb.
- In addition to stories that a prospect can relate to and see themselves in, ask good questions, and then ask more and listen.
- The opposite happens because we like to hear ourselves talk and genuinely want to bestow wisdom that we know could help the prospect.
Have patience; you will get your chance – it’s not on the first meeting!
- At the beginning of the meeting, you and your prospect should establish what you are trying to mutually accomplish with the time.
- So, ask, “What do you want to get out of this time?”
- Being transparent with a prospect about your intentions helps to mutually decide if additional time should be scheduled to further the conversation.
- If you have a process that, when done well, takes two to four meetings, let them know. Be upfront and remove the elephant in the room. You aren’t asking for a check today. And the only commitment you are seeking is to continue the conversation.
- Ensure your prospect knows that you will respect their response, even if it’s no and that you will feel equally comfortable disclosing if this isn’t a good fit.
- Setting a good stage leaves no mystery at the end of the meeting, which leaves you with a very natural opportunity to ask for the next meeting.
Bonus! Referrals: 91% of customers say they’d give referrals. Only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals consistently! Just ask!