It’s that time of the year where CEOs and Directors are reflecting on last quarter’s results with their sales teams. Congratulations if your team smashed their targets. Now it’s time to build on that momentum and energy for sales success.
For some, however, the last quarter was tough. And one of the things I hear very often is the CEO has felt blindsided.
Throughout the quarter they were told their pipeline looks great, the salesperson was talking to lots of brilliant leads and the deals will come through.
But they didn’t…
And now there’s a hole in the revenue target which has put everyone under more pressure.
Why did the deals not materialise?
In this email, I will share how we recommend sales conversations be approached.
It may take 4,5 or even 6 conversations but it would follow the following flow:
Part 1: Conversation 1-2
Nine times out of ten, we find the salesperson thinks the conversation went really well because the prospect was friendly and was open to reading a proposal. The conversation followed this path:
However, most people are polite.
They won’t tell you they haven’t connected with you or you haven’t shown them much value or it’s too soon to send them a proposal.
They will simply write you off on the call and go back to their day-to-day activities.
It’s so important you take your prospect on a journey and the first conversation is make-or-break.
Your prospect should walk away from the first conversation feeling like:
- You’ve understood them and what their challenges/desires are.
- You’ve shared new insight or a different perspective that they can’t stop thinking about.
- They want to spend more time with you and look forward to the next conversation.
Part 2: Conversation 3-4 (or 5)
Your “call to action” from the first conversation should not be to send a proposal.
Your “call to action” should be to send some resources and insights and book another call to spend more time with your prospect.
Explore their journey so far and the impact it’s having on their business.
Ask questions on follow-up conversations such as:
- What have you done so far to fix the situation?
- What happened when you tried that?
- What’s your plan to fix this?
- What impact will it have on the business or you personally if this doesn’t get resolved or you don’t get to XYZ in 12 months?
- Who is supporting you with this? And how is this working out for you?
Share value and build belief
Really think about what would help them right now and make them feel like they need you on their team. Some ideas:
- A checklist or priority list
- A guide on how to approach XYZ
- A link to an article
- An introduction to a partner or a customer who faced the same challenge
- Additional time with them or members of their team to help overcome a specific challenge
- A mini audit of a specific area to assess gaps
- A step-by-step approach
- A script or framework script on how to deal with XYZ with their customer
- Tips on specific areas
Part 3: Conversation 5-6
Build trust and credibility
Following the steps above will get you to a place where the client feels you understand them and they genuinely believe you can support them with some of their additional challenges.
Because you’ve not pitched them anything and you’ve shared lots of value and support.
And whilst most will already trust you can support them, some may need an extra push. At this point, it’s important to share case studies and testimonials and also offer to introduce them to other clients.
“Would it help if I shared how we supported XYZ clients with the same challenge?”
Identify the best next steps
Let them feel like they are in control of the conversation by asking things like:
- What would you like to do next?
- What do you feel is the best next step for you?
- If you could work with anyone to support you with these challenges what would you expect from them? What would success look like?
- How are you going to go about finding this level of support?
If you’ve approached all the steps above the right way and formed a great relationship with your prospect, they’ll want to know more about how you can support them.
If not, you can ask:
“Would it help if I shared how we can potentially support you to achieve xyz?”
I only recommend asking this if you genuinely feel they will want to know more! If you don’t, you may need to go back a few steps…
Sounds simple when you break it down doesn’t it? However, it’s amazing how many salespeople go from 1-100 in their first conversation.
Remember sales is like dating. The thought of someone discussing married life with you on the first date gives you the “ick” or makes you cringe right?…
So take the time to build relationships and shape the conversation the right way.