No matter the industry, a salesperson’s prospects are likely getting pitched a new product or service regularly. Whether it’s through email, phone, social media, or mail, with the average eight-second attention span of today’s internet user it can be difficult to stand out and pique a prospect’s interest.
However, it is still possible to find growth in sales for your industry. Follow the rules of good relationship building and genuine interest in your potential customers, and you’ll find success in closing deals regularly.
Like your prospects, you know your industry best, so put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In this case, applying the Golden Rule means reaching out and talking to customers in the same way you like being talked to.
If you aren’t a fan of industry email and cold calls, don’t use those tactics on your customers. By switching to the perspective of the customer, you’re more able to put your own goals aside and think about what your customers are looking for. Use tactics your prospects are more interested in and you’ll likely get their attention for a longer period of time, and get a better response.
Almost everyone dislikes receiving templated pitches that don’t apply to what they specifically need and want. Before reaching out to someone, take the time to narrow your pitch down to what you offer that would most improve their business or quality of life. If it’s a referral, ask the person referring you for a few details about the person they recommended you contact. For a B2B prospect, research their business, online presence, and product offerings to see where your business can fit in.
Dale Carnegie recommended using someone’s name while speaking with them: “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Most people like hearing their name. It makes them feel important and more engaged in the discussion.
However, this tactic can be overused. Vincent Nguyen, in an article for Self Stairway, recommends using someone’s name in conversation only when it makes sense—and don’t use it just because you can. For instance, thank someone for their time, saying, “It was great to meet you, Kelsey. Thank you,” instead of a generic, “Thanks for your time.”
People will appreciate that you care enough about the meeting or conversation to remember who they are. It’s a simple skill, and one anyone can improve. It works wonders in showing customers they matter.
Making sure customers know they matter should be a crucial part of your sales strategy. As you’re working toward a monthly or quarterly sales goal, it can be difficult to prioritize the goal of getting to know your prospects better. When they are buying from your business, narrowing the relationship down to just the sale can be easy. But in order to get referrals (which convert at a much higher rate than cold calling), salespeople should make it a point to get to know their customers better.
Relationships founded on common interests is another way to show customers that you care. But while it can be helpful to build rapport with customers, you don’t want to waste prospects’ time with small talk when they are just wondering why you are calling or reaching out.
Get straight to the point when you start your relationship. Over time you can build a rapport that allows you to talk about what you have in common. Topics like hobbies, their family, vacation plans, and the state of your industry are good topics to cover when you want to engage with customers. By speaking to your prospects about your common interests, you can keep their attention and build trust.
It may sound counterintuitive, but just like with small talk, don’t talk about your company when you meet a new prospect. Instead, focus on the results they can expect from your business. When someone is getting pitched, they care about how working with you will impact them and their business. Your company’s illustrious history, the inner workings of the business, and the company culture aren’t generally topics that should be brought up in an introductory meeting.
Stick to sharing the results you provide to your customers. Let your prospect put themselves in satisfied customers’ shoes. Unless a customer specifically requests more information, customer results are always more compelling than going over a brochure about the company’s 100-year history or explaining the process of manufacturing.
Similar to when you focus on results, customers also like hearing how you are going to influence their company and solve its issues. Take the time to learn their pain points. Create a pitch to address their specific needs, and refrain from dry pitches that just talk about your company’s products and services.
Prospects turn into customers when they trust they will get results from the company they are buying from. To continue that trust, which can lead to referrals and repeat business, make sure customers are making the most of their relationship with you and your business. Offer resources that help your customers enjoy your offerings more.
For instance, Nutribullet, a company that sells blenders, provides free recipes. Proper ingredient quantities ensure the product doesn’t get overfilled, and helps customers feel more confident using the product. In addition to bonus content and resources, customers may feel more engaged if you offer extended assistance with onboarding or special perks that don’t come with similar products from your competitors.
As a prospect makes the journey from lead to long-term customer, make sure they feel taken care of in order to keep their attention. Build strong relationships and offer customized solutions to your products. With a little effort, your customers will know they can depend on you to make their lives easier.
Learn more sales tips in our ebook, “100 Sales Tips for 2017.”