Here’s what we know. Great sales reps have the skills to close a deal, but even the most experienced struggle with how to secure that first conversation. And yet, that is the most critical piece of the process because you can’t get the decision maker to sign on the dotted line until you get him in the door!
Whether blinded by too much (or a lack of) enthusiasm, feeling pressure to meet quotas or a fiery determination to win the monthly award, at some point every sales person falls off their game. When this happens, common sense, etiquette and good habits disappear and qualified opportunities dry up. While most companies focus on training “for the close”, it is essential to also fine-tune the prospect-outreach phase. This will ensure consistency in the process, which is the key to keeping bad habits from creeping in. Below are three rules your sales team should follow to significantly improve opportunity creation and accelerate sales:
- Use Your Tour Guide.Admins (aka The Gatekeepers) are typically ‘plugged in’ to every department, so use their knowledge and connections to your advantage. Ask for their help in identifying the person(s) who would be part of the decision-making process. Don’t rush past them but rather capture them with a ‘can you help me’ approach, they are far more likely to lead you around the company and provide you with the information you need.
- Follow the Three S Rule. Save Selling for Second call.No one wants likes being interrupted from their current task to hear a sales person pitching their product furiously before they are hung up on. Be respectful and do not try to sell on that call. Prospects don’t usually wake up in the morning saying “I need to buy one of these today!” Instead, use this first call to explain your value propositionand request a convenient time to explore further. Once you secure that next appointment, then you are free to sell.
- Don’t give up after 2 calls: Reps tend to give up too easily. You may need to contact someone four, five or six times—persistency pays off!And, if you don’t reach that person, gather contact information for other possible key players in the organization. There are an average of 5.4 people involved in a B2B sale, so don’t get discouraged if you can’t reach ‘the one’. Reach out to others through a combination voice messages, administrative assistant conversations and synchronized emails, your appointment and conversion rates will go through the roof!
Whether your sales teams are entry-level or well-seasoned professionals — reminders on the importance of optimizing the prospect phase is essential to keeping your pipeline full and revenue high.