Most customers will never hear how a company’s sales team discusses the process of winning them over, but if they did, a lot of deals might become much tougher to close.
To be fair, some of the terminology sales teams use is so old most reps barely give it a second thought. Take the word “target” as an example. It’s how most firms describe the group of people they believe will be most likely to buy their products and services. You could argue, though, that as soon as you start talking about a target, you stop talking about people — even though connecting with and convincing a person to make a purchase is a lot more complicated than trying to shoot an arrow into the bull’s eye of a target.
Technology like customer relationship management (CRM) was intended to help inject a little more humanity back into the sales process by collecting more information about each individual with whom a rep might have a conversation. Along with using Sales Cloud, though, it might be a good idea to reconsider some of the other catchphrases that go along with the sales process and see if they could be humanized, too. Remember, how you speak reflects how you think:
The phrase: ‘Smile and dial’
What it means: Following up on a sales lead inevitably leads to reaching out to a complete stranger, otherwise known as cold calling. The idea behind “smile and dial” is to bulldoze past any awkwardness this process may create and just be as cheerful as possible towards the potential customer. It’s almost like the sales equivalent of “fake it ’til you make it.”
A friendlier alternative: Instead of “smile and dial,” think “connect and respect.” In other words, reps who use CRM will get a better sense of how a potential customer wishes to be contacted. This could still be a phone call, but it could also be an e-mail or even social media. There are many different ways to connect that don’t involve dialing. When you use the right one, you’re showing respect — the same respect that’s reflected in the solid information you bring to that conversation. That’s a lot better than pretending to be more cheerful than you really feel.
The phrase: “Pounce and pitch”
What it means: Imagine the following scenario: You see a good example of the kind of person who might want your product on LinkedIn. You “pounce” and send a connection request. They accept! Then you immediately pitch them or at least try to secure a meeting with them while you have their attention.
There may be occasions when this kind of tactic works. There is also the likelihood, however, that your new contact on LinkedIn (or whatever method you use) will be put off. Think about it in a face-to-face context. If someone were to introduce themselves to you at a cocktail party and immediately gave you the hard sell, how would it feel? The pounce and pitch is not a good way to pursue social selling, because it’s not really being sociable.
A friendlier alternative: Try “nurture and nudge.” Remembering that the “r” in CRM stands for “relationship,” you’ll recognize that a good relationship has to be nurtured over time. This involves being attentive to the other person’s needs, building trust and respecting boundaries. When the relationship is in the good place, a potential customer may be more than willing to hear a solid pitch. If the rep uses CRM to deeply understand the person’s needs, they will be alert when something happens in their company or industry that could trigger interest in a purchase. That’s when you (gently) nudge them.
The phrase: “Farm And hunt’
What it means: These are actually two terms, both used to describe the different styles some sales pros use as they attempt to build their client roster. The “hunter” is the rep that goes for quantity in their pipeline, gathering as many leads as they can and then closing them as quickly as possible. “Farmers” on the other hand, are the reps who look to grow the level of business they can get within each of their accounts.
There are good and bad aspects to each of these personas (which are, of course, stereotypes). Those with the hunting mentality tend to show a lot of initiative and are really productive. Farmers may not rack up the same numbers, but their customers may prove more loyal because of the time that’s been spent on them.
A friendlier alternative: Rather than choose between hunting and farming, what about “gather and grow?” CRM lets reps take all the initiative they would have as “hunters” but channel it into gathering more useful information that lets them get to know more about a potential buyer really quickly. Then, like the “farmer,” they can continue to grow their business by taking what they learn from each purchase and continue the “gathering” process.
Terms like “pounce and pitch” or “smile and dial” might not be whaat reps say every day, but they probably come up in training discussions. That’s why taking a little more care with language is so important. As new reps develop their skills, they’ll always do better to talk about interacting with customers in ways that make them treat them as human and unique.
On the other hand, “connect and respect,” “nurture and nudge” or “gather and grow” might evoke a company’s mission statement or the kind of values it wants to uphold. They could be ways to evaluate the performance of the sales team, or open up a dialogue with a particular rep who needs coaching in one of these areas.
Customers don’t want to be farmed, hunted, or greeted with fake “smiles” over the phone. They want to feel genuine interest and appreciation for the things they’re going through every day. If you say what you mean, and mean what you say, you’re not only going to close more deals with Sales Cloud, but create relationships that are invaluable to yourself and your company.