Those in sales are in an awkward paradox. We’re archetypally competitive, but ultimately in a profession where failure is unavoidable.
The psychology of sales dictates that our attitude can hugely impact our prospects. Below takes you through six of my learnings detailing how to work efficiently, and maximise the potential of every opportunity.
Rule 1: Accept and own your failure
For sales, how you deal with failure is the key to success. When a prospect doesn’t convert, this can kick in your ‘fight or flight’ instincts. But panicking will have a roll-on negative effect on your future success. Ultimately, as salespeople and human beings we learn through our mistakes.
When that dreaded ‘no’ word comes around, remember succeeding in sales isn’t just about the prospect, and it isn’t just about you.
Come to terms with the fact that failure is part and parcel of sales. Learn what you can and move on from any sale you don’t win. Acknowledge that whilst sale conversions are not all within your control, there is a huge amount you can harness if you’re smart about it.
Rule 2: When it comes to targeting, less is more
Despite what many sales mantras say, reaching out to more prospects won’t correlate to more conversions. Pipedrive’s CEO Timo Rein states “70% of all deals should be winnable”. If that’s way off your close rate, you’re either mishandling rejection or picking the wrong prospects in the first place.
It’s about being smart with who you’re targeting
Our 2017 Sales Performance Review revealed that the highest performing teams had smaller pipelines filled with fewer, but better, leads.
Picking the right prospects will result in closing more and failing less. Qualifying leads should take up a large quantity of your time; resulting in a smaller pool of the right people, as opposed to a large pool of largely disinterested prospects.
Set yourself up to succeed by spending time researching and targeting, not spamming. This equates to being able to spend more time building relationships with these prospects who are in a better position to convert.
Rule 3: Prospects without a problem are a problem for you
Timing is everything. For salespeople, engaging at the right time means when a prospect has an issue that needs solving. Without this, they will reject the solution you’re selling.
Talk to your marketing team. They follow up with the customers you close so can share valuable insights such as feedback survey data and buyer personas of active customers. You can use it to build a profile of the leads you should be honing-in on.
Optimise your online lead gen process. Whether you’re using sign-up forms, social media or email marketing, your message needs to have impact. Choosing solutions to help perfect email comms with templates and email tracking. This will give deeper insight into what interests your prospects and can be an excellent time-saver.
Rule 4: Prospects won’t convert unless they are ready to take action
When it comes to providing the solution to the problem a prospect wants to solve, a lead will only convert when they are ready to solve it. The real key here is being there for your prospect when they are ready to take action.
What to do:
1) Use CRM software with a quality mobile offering. Having call logging features on the go will enable you to view deal information on incoming calls, keeping you prepared wherever you are.
2) Make scheduling meetings easy and simple. Going back and forth to nail down a time to meet will create friction, negatively impacting closure. Adopting software that gives clients an instant view of your availability will aid a quick and seamless process.
Rule 5: Qualify authority
Targeting and communicating with prospects who don’t have the authority to make business decisions can lead to a lot of wasted time and rejections.
What to do:
Reconsider the way you build your pool of prospects. If you’re experiencing a series of short journeys to failure it could mean that your points of contact lack the authority to make purchases. Using features in CRM software that help identify the title or role with the right decision power can shortcut your qualification process.
Rule 6: Qualify budgets and speak about money carefully
When you talk about money, it’s important to consider how to frame the conversation in order to enable a positive reception. Ultimately, if they don’t have the budget they’re not buying – so do bear that in mind and make sure to share costs not too late down the track.
What to do:
1) Focus on the value your solution adds, as opposed to the price.
2) The timing when discussing money is everything; too early on and you risk being deemed too salesy. Quoting after you have more intel from them and their personal situation will leverage your position, framing you as an expert and a trusted adviser.
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