Want Higher Response Rates? Start Treating Your Sales Prospects Like People.

Want Higher Response Rates? Start Treating Your Sales Prospects Like People.

Sales is about communication, about nurturing that relationship and building trust. After all, sales reps are doing so many things wrong: Talking too much and not letting the prospect share his or her needs Grilling the prospect with too many questions Being overeager when it comes to making the sale Going into a conversation with a prospect unprepared Not taking the time to understand the prospect The point is, it’s through trust that you find success. That’s why when talking to the prospect, you have to forget about the sale. If you’re too focused on the sale, your prospects won’t trust you. Don’t be in such a rush to talk about your products. According to HubSpot, 69 percent of buyers surveyed said that the number one way to create a positive sales experience with them was to listen to their needs. But by doing so, they forget all about the customers they already have. Whatever the case, you should find it easy to identify those customers with whom an opportunity lies to sell to them again (and maybe again and again). A smooth sales process Selling to dormant customers can actually be easier than selling to new customers. What opportunities do you see in your business to sell to dormant customers?

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You can’t expect to sell anything if your prospects don’t trust you.

Want Higher Response Rates? Start Treating Your Sales Prospects Like People.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Sales isn’t an easy job. It takes the right personality and a certain set of skills to be successful. That’s why whenever I’ve hired for a sales position, I’ve found that it’s very hard to find that right person.

That’s because so many salespeople have the wrong attitude when it comes to communicating with their prospects. They’re so focused on the numbers game — from pricing to commissions to quotas — that they forget that they’re talking to real people.

I can’t tell you how many times a sales rep has come to me complaining about how a prospect has ghosted him (or her), and wondering what he did wrong.

But the truth was, he was the problem. You can’t come charging out of the gate, pushing the sale and expect the prospect to fall in line. Sales is about communication, about nurturing that relationship and building trust. And you can’t expect to sell anything if your prospects don’t trust you.

Why your prospects don’t trust you

Sales reps already have a reputation for being shady. In fact, according to research from HubSpot, only 3 percent of buyers trust sales reps. And for good reason! After all, sales reps are doing so many things wrong:

  • Talking too much and not letting the prospect share his or her needs

  • Grilling the prospect with too many questions

  • Being overeager when it comes to making the sale

  • Going into a conversation with a prospect unprepared

  • Not taking the time to understand the prospect

The point is, it’s through trust that you find success. Prospects know when they’re being treated like dollar signs, when you’re talking through a script and focused only on the transaction. And the minute they feel mistreated, they’ll walk away. Believe me.

That’s why when talking to the prospect, you have to forget about the sale. I know that sounds like the exact opposite of what you should do, but hear me out. If you’re too focused on the sale, your prospects won’t trust you. They won’t open up and share their needs, and they won’t believe in the value of your products or services. So, you have to forget about the sale — at least temporarily.

What do you focus on instead? Building that trust. And the best way to build trust is through open and honest communication.

How you can improve your communication with prospects

In any relationship, communication is key, and sales are no different. How you communicate will dictate how your prospect responds to you and whether or not he or she will ultimately buy from you. That’s why having strong communication skills is essential.

Here are the three things you need to do to communicate effectively with your prospects:

1. Connect.

The first thing you need to do is slow down. Don’t be in such a rush to talk about your products. You need to nurture the prospect and ease him or her into the idea.

Start by getting to know this person. Ask questions, and let the prospect do the talking. Better yet, research your prospect ahead of time to find some common ground. Maybe you both like the same sports team, or maybe the prospect wrote a really interesting article recently. Whatever it is, lead with that commonality to start building a rapport.

The goal is to get the prospect to feel comfortable around you and then open up more and share his or her needs.

2. Listen.

Remember how I said you should let the prospect do the talking? According to HubSpot, 69 percent of buyers surveyed said that the number one way to create a positive sales experience with them was to listen to their needs. You need to truly hone in on what your prospect is saying. Then you can identify where you can help.

Sometimes, that may mean you discover that your product isn’t actually right for that prospect. Rather than trying to push the product further, you…

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