This past week, I’ve been evaluating some options for a client to pair the outside sales team we’re building with an inside sales team to do heavy prospecting and lead generation for one of the product areas that has a very large prospect base.
If you’ve been on the internet lately and wanted to explore a product, get more information or see a demo, you know the drill . . .
Opt-in, give your email and phone number and you get a call within minutes.
This gets hairy when you’re evaluating 10 or more different options! Trying to keep track of firms, reps, their emails and voicemails . . . is challenging but there’s a side benefit that always comes from this evaluation process.
I get to assess the Sales Pros and their Sales Process.
And here’s what I’m seeing (in a big generality) from this experience on the BUYER side . . .
Though I’ve given my email, website, title, and industry, and checked the box about why I was inquiring, about half did not look me up before they called me.
Of those that said they did, I’m skeptical with their “You have an interesting business model” statement that gives me pause to think they haven’t truly done their homework. That and one of them actually asked to speak with “Mr. Sandy”. Doh! That’s not the first time my name has had me mistaken for a “Mr.” but one look at my website home page and you’d see the video that clearly contradicts that assumption.
I was also surprised that during the first follow-up, their first questions were “Tell me what you’re looking for?”, or “What can I tell you about our company?”
Not terrible questions, but I got most of the answers to those questions from their website (just like EVERY buyer does now). What was shocking was that most of them left all the “selling process” up to me. I initiated the questions, controlled the conversations, and even asked for the follow-up.
I offered up WHY I inquired.
I explained how my business worked.
I detailed what my client needed.
I asked how their process worked.
I asked for timelines, investments, startup, and onboarding details. AND
I requested the follow-up information in detail.
Gosh, I hope I remembered to ask everything so I can weigh all the options! (read: sarcasm)
Though the technology and the process is high tech and top of the line in all these instances (email marketing, marketing automation, intelligent dialers, appointment setters . . .) . . . falling down on the basics of selling is still happening EVERY DAY.
It was quickly clear that the Inside Sales Firms that fell down at the basics of selling will be crossed off my list. Whether you have a sales team and a sales process, or your sales department consists of you, yourself, and . . . just you, don’t make the same mistakes when you reach out or respond to potential customers.
Make sure you get these Selling basics right!
Know WHO you’re calling on – ESPECIALLY if they gave you the information. It doesn’t take but a couple of minutes to scan a website and search for someone in social media. You can learn a TON about who you’re calling and reflecting what you know goes a long way to being credible and to keep someone interested and engaged. Know how many people work in the company, what industries they specialize in, how they might be able to use your product or service. Respect your potential customers enough to do the due diligence and know who they are before you pick up the phone or meet them.
Know WHY you’re calling – which seems like overly simple, however, if you’re calling to close a deal or sell someone something, you’re missing all the selling steps in the middle, which is your buyer’s process, and will most assuredly get shot down. Why are you calling? Is it to ask for time to discuss their needs? Is it to ask for information to create a solution? Is it to offer a demo? Are you asking to meet more of their team? Get clear and concrete about the immediate reason you have for reaching out.
Give them a reason to listen to you – think through what you would say on the other end of a call. What would keep you listening: Clear and upfront intentions? Permission to continue discussing? Relevant examples of results? References of other clients or similar projects? Get upfront with your prospects and don’t BS or fluff up the conversation – get to the point with value in the currency and context of your customers.
As I’ve explained from my experience, even the Sales Pros in Sales Pro Companies are skipping this step!
Start here. Be “Brilliant at the Basics” as one of our clients says. Don’t take for granted the most important part of relationship building with your customers.
Until next time, stop hoping, start SELLING!