If you’re like many manufacturers, retailers, and even small businesses, closing sales leads is an important part of your business. Whether you sell directly to customers with dedicated sales representatives across the country or are responsible for closing leads on your own, following up with prospects and making the final sale is a critical part of growing your business and staying ahead of competitors.
If your sales figures are not on schedule with your projected yearly forecast or if you’re continually losing bids to competitors and looking to make improvements to your sales team’s performance, there are several top reasons why professionals of almost every industry struggle to close leads. With a few adjustments to your sales strategies and tactics, you can be well on your way to closing essential leads in no time and making a healthy impact on your bottom line.
Using the Wrong Selling Approach
When it comes to professional selling and closing leads with valuable prospects, it’s important to remember the quote below.
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt
This simple quote by one of our nation’s greatest presidents is one of the most important driving factors behind both sales and customer service. What this highlights in relation to professional selling and business, in general, is the whole aspect of relationship-based selling versus traditional transactional based selling.
One of the biggest reasons professionals across multiple industries struggle to close leads with important prospects is how they approach a potential client’s situation and offer something of value. Many sales reps or inside sales specialists might be tempted to simply cold contact a lead, recite the benefits of a product/service, and highlight why a few clients in their industry made the same purchase.
This passive approach to selling is not only cheesy and outdated, but it fails to take the necessary steps to truly understand the prospect’s pain points and set the framework for a value relationship in the future. What this means is that you need to take the time and sit down with your potential client and learn everything you can about their business.
Knowing their competitors, their industry, what challenges they face on a daily basis, and some of the other struggles of their business will help you better understand their specific needs and allow you to offer a practical solution. The keyword here you need to focus on is solution.
To put it simply, nobody wants to speak to another salesman over the phone or in person when they have countless things to do during their workweek. People are crunched for time and resources and trying to simply sell them something and move on is wasting both your time and theirs.
To effectively close leads and build relationships with clients, you need to offer them practical solutions to their everyday problems. If you offer cutting-edge medical equipment that saves practitioners time, money and helps reduce infections, highlighting this product and how it meets their needs is a great way to start.
By listening to these professionals, assessing their needs, and developing a tailored solution, it shows them you’re willing to go the extra mile and that you truly care about their business outside of making a simple transaction. This helps you shed the “salesman” label and allows you to build credibility as a partner in the industry and fulfill almost a consultant type role. This, in turn, helps build your credibility as a business and sets a strong foundation for building a healthy and successful relationship in the future.
You’re Timing Needs Reworked
Depending on your industry, whether it’s Business to Consumer (B2C), Business to Business (B2B), or even Business to Government (B2G), the timing of your sales efforts will play a pivotal role in the success of your business. For example, in many B2C markets, the Christmas holiday shopping season is one of the most highly marketed and advertised seasons out of the year.
Sales departments and teams spend months planning and organizing efforts in order to get shoppers to spend money on major shopping holidays like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. For B2B markets, many sales teams might wait until after January to start contacting leads to capitalize on fresh budgets for the new fiscal year.
Other timing variants that might play a key role in your sales efforts can include staff changes (New CEO, Corporate Buying Manager, or President) and regulatory events like a recent law that requires additional equipment to be purchased for ADA accessible buildings. Anticipating these events and scheduling your sales efforts around them will help you get the most out of your efforts and avoid the dreaded “Our budget was spent months ago” line.
You Need to Build Credibility
Whether you’re trying to sell t-shirts to clothing manufacturers or dental tools to local universities, credibility means everything when reaching out to a prospect and trying to make a sale. Connecting with a prospect one-on-one is a great first step to building a relationship and credibility but needs to be backed up by a supportive portfolio.
Think of this from the perspective of a prospect. Someone walks into your office, spends a few hours listening to you talk about your everyday challenges, and offers a detailed solution in the form of a revolutionary product that was just released to the product. You’re ready to buy it right? Wrong.
Like you, a prospect is probably going to want to perform their research and due diligence first before even thinking about a set number or budget. This is where your reassuring credibility needs to come into play. To reassure your prospect that your company is the right fit for them and that you have the experience, expertise, and knowledge in your field, you need to be able to showcase a professional online portfolio or what marketers call a digital presence.
Your company website, LinkedIn profile, and reviews across the internet should be polished, clean, and professional. Your website should feature all the content your customers need to find out more information about your product or service. This could be in the form of downloadable PDFs or even case studies featuring recent projects you’ve done that show your robust repertoire of capabilities.
The more information you have available about your company and products/services, the easier it will be to differentiate yourself from your competitors and earn your reputation as both a transparent and credible industry partner.
Networking with sales prospects and converting them to lifelong customers is never easy. With an ever-changing marketplace and increasingly competitive industries, closing deals is now harder and more important than ever. With simple changes to your sales approach and the timing of your efforts, you can easily make a strong impact in the minds of potential consumers across multiple markets. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a small local business, these simple changes can help you capture more customer lifetime value and build your brand’s reputation.
Interested in boosting sales for your organization? Not sure where to start? Think VIG!