To get a potential client to sign faster, use a little marketing magic. Sure, marketing’s first job is to attract customers. But our second job is to support sales: to increase the number of customers who say yes, and to shorten the time between first contact and signing on the dotted line. Here is how to take a page out of our book.
- Listen First.
Last week, I sat in on a client’s sales call. I watched that smart leadership team sit a potential customer down and immediately proceed to bore her to tears with a 45-minute presentation of “capabilities”. No, no, no.
A sales meeting is a conversation. Good questions to ask:
- “I know you’re busy. Why did you decide to take the time to talk to us today?”
- “What would you like to get out of this discussion?”
- “What problem are you hoping we can solve?”
- Come Prepared.
To have a productive conversation, you need to have an idea of who you’re talking to. It’s all right there at your fingertips on LinkedIn.
The easiest and fastest way to prep for a sales meeting: look up the LinkedIn profile of the people you’re meeting with. Read the LinkedIn company page. Skim the website. You can do this all in 30 minutes or less.
- Be Clear.
Give an example. Break it into situation, action, result. Talk about a client from a similar industry, or in a similar situation. Our all-time favorite finance manager won our business when she explained – in three sentences – what she’d done to make billing easier for another consulting firm. Sold.
- Don’t Give Up So Easily.
The most common reason for losing a sale is choosing not to follow up. No, we’re not advocating stalking your clients. It just takes more touches than you expect to close a deal. As in six to ten.
The easy way around this: schedule the next meeting or phone call at the end of the first one. Problem solved.
March 6, 2014