Research the prospect
This might seem time-consuming to begin with, but it will make the sales process much quicker overall if you take a few moments to familiarise yourself with the prospective customer and the sector in which they operate. Knowing their business model, unique selling point and market challenges will provide some great information to inform your sales pitch. It’s also crucial to identify exactly who you need to speak with – i.e. the key decision maker – at this stage, so you know who to ask for when you call. Otherwise, you could end up making a detailed pitch to someone with no clout whatsoever when it comes to buying the services your firm offers.
Be polite, not pushy
One mistake many salespeople make is being overly aggressive when talking to their prospect because they’re frightened they’ll lose the sale altogether. In fact, doing this will likely mean you’ve already lost it before you’ve even introduced your product. Be polite throughout the process – from the moment the secretary picks up the phone during your initial contact, to when the decision maker agrees to a sale in the final meeting – and this will go a long way towards endearing yourself with potential clients. Instead of demanding that the customer meets with you, explain why you’re getting in touch and how it could benefit them, and only then say that you’d like to discuss the matter further, but only if it’s the right time for them. If they say it’s not, ask them when they might be available and/or suggest using a teleconferencing service (such as that offered by Buzz Conferencing), to ensure your contact meets with you only when it’s most convenient for them. This will mean they’ll be fully engaged with what you have to say, rather than distracted and harried.
Be clear in all communications
Always explain exactly who you are and why you’re getting in touch with the prospect, whether it’s in the first call you make or several conversations down the line. Don’t use marketing speak or unfamiliar jargon to confuse the decision maker and be sure they understand everything you say so there can be no accusation of mis-selling after the contract has been signed.
Follow through and ask for a sale
It can be more difficult than it seems to actually ask the prospect to sign a contract, but there are a couple of clever ways you can do this without seeming pushy. When your final conversation has come to a natural end and you’re sure the decision maker understands the benefits of the product in question, ask them whether they’re ready to sign the contract today. This will put them in a position where they need to make a decision and, if they’re not quite sure yet, they can schedule another conversation in the future. Hopefully, if you’ve done your research as suggested above, they won’t simply say no and waste all of your time and hard work. Whatever you do, don’t try to pressure them into a firm answer, as they’re likely to take umbrage at this or get flustered and make a decision they later regret. Treat your prospect with politeness and you’re more likely to close the deal in as efficient a way as possible.