Face it: even if you have the best product or service on the market, and it fits your prospect’s wants or needs like a custom Armani suit, there’s still a pretty good chance they won’t give you the time of day. You’re at the bottom of their priority list, if on their list at all! And the more fast-paced the world becomes, the harder it is to score even a minute of their day.
How do sales people earn a place on their prospects' priority lists?
Every time you pick up the phone, you should be asking yourself, what will my prospect gain from this conversation? Here are 5 guaranteed ways to add value to every sales call:
1. Listen, Learn, Act Accordingly
Your first few conversations with a prospect are critical in setting the tone for the rest of your interactions. It's their opportunity to process their wants or needs out loud. Be a facilitator in this endeavor by practicing your listening skills and letting them do a fair share of the talking. More importantly, learn something about your prospect that will enable you to help them as your professional relationship develops. You cannot add value to each correspondence if you don’t have a solid grasp of what they need.
2. Help Them Better Understand Their Needs
Your prospect should already have a baseline understanding of why they need or want your product. Help them dig deeper by doing a needs analysis. Ask thought-provoking questions that encourage your prospect to get specific about what they need, why they need it and when. Ask them to be precise about their timeline and budget, and discuss in detail how your product or service will influence positive changes.
I often refer to this as a Diagnostics Call, and I have had many prospects express how valuable this conversation is in helping them look at their challenges from a diffferent perspective. When answering these probing, thought-provoking questons, prospects need to think critically about the true state of their business, and often they end up uncovering new realizations about their company that they hadn't considered before.
3. Offer Specific Tips
By now, you should be familiar with the most common pain points inflicting businesses within your prospect’s industry. Depending on how long your nose has been to the grindstone, you’ve also likely seen a multitude of approaches to solving those pain points. Offer specific advice that will help resolve one or more of them. Try to provide input they won’t easily find online by tapping into your experiences. How did you help clients solve similar issues in the past? Which approaches were the most successful?
One strategy for using this technique that I have found to be successful is finding something actionable, something small that the prospect can implement right away to change their business for the better. For example, when I'm looking through a prospect's website and I notice that their blog posts don't have any calls-to-action, I share with them how adding a few CTAs will improve their blogging ROI. This is one of my favorite ways to add value because I'm offering the client free advice base don my knowledge and experience.
4. Share a Helpful Resource
Perhaps it’s industry-specific, like a directory or research that’s relevant to their market. Or maybe it’s an eBook that will help them develop necessary skills to adapt their business. Either way, provide them with some type of helpful resource that empowers them to do something better than their direct competitors, or provides them with new and important insight.
Keep in mind, "sharing a resource" doesn't mean sending your product literature or linking the prospect to the Services page on your website. It means providing helpful information that inspires and excites.
Not only is resource sharing a great way to ensure that the prospect doesn't forget about your call immediatley after you hang up, but it increases your value as a trusted advisor rather than simply a sales person.
5. Contribute to Their Vision of a Bright Future
If your conversation goes well, your prospect will likely begin to talk about themselves…a lot. More often than not, they will focus on what’s challenging them. It can be easy to get stuck looking at the problem instead of what the solution means for the future. Help them see a brighter tomorrow by shifting the conversation and encouraging them to visualize the positive outcome of their potential investment in your product or service.
80 percent of sales require five follow ups. Use this list to make every conversation count. Your prospects will thank you for enhancing their buying experience, and you’ll be far more likely to close.