Archive for category Lead Generation

Converting Prospects – Does your Business spend enough time on this?

How do you provide your buyers with a complete understanding of what you do, what you sell and why your products or services are better than the competition? 

Too many businesses are already generating all the leads and prospects they need but are unwittingly losing up to 90% of opportunities to convert them into sales.

As an aide memoire it is important to consider the following:-

  • The buyer is more intererested in themselves than you.
  • Map your sales process. A step by step process to convert enquiries and leads into sales. Build trust/understand the buyers goals/create certainty that your product meets their needs/ overcome fear of making the wrong decision/officially confirm the sale.
  • There is value in trying to convert old and cold prospects. It may be time to approach another prospect in the target company.
  • Qualify leads so you don’t waste time. If a prospect isn’t ready to buy don’t give them to the sales team. Provide useful mailshots and wait your time.
  • Spend enough time researching the buyer’s needs, then offer the solution to win the sale. It is important to listen and find the solution for the prospect.
  • Offer content and information that educates, regular newsletters are the beginning of the process.
  • Fish where the big fish are, don’t waste time trying to convince people to buy when they are clearly not interested or ready to commit.
  • Establish a no communication deadline to remove redundant prospects from your pipeline.
  • Follow up your initial call a few days later asking questions, eg, have you had a chance to go over the information and make a decision? 80% of all significant sales occur only after a minimum of 5 follow ups. Following up will apply pressure and open up dialogue to discover questions and concerns that the prospect may have.
  • Have a list of scripted answers readily available for every possible objection/query.
  • Remind them that you have a solution that is going to make them more money.
  • Don’t adopt a one size fits all approach, target and segment, focus on the best prospects first.

It’s all very obvious but there is tremendous value in reflecting on the above and evaluating your conversion process.

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Converting Prospects – Does your Business spend enough time on this?

How do you provide your buyers with a complete understanding of what you do, what you sell and why your products or services are better than the competition?

This question was posed to members at a Business Exposure Group meeting and a lively discussion ensued.

Too many businesses are already generating all the leads and prospects they need but are unwittingly losing up to 90% of opportunities to convert them into sales.

It is important to consider the following:-

  • The buyer is more interested in themselves than you, so, how do you remove the perceived risk of buying from you?
  • Map your sales process. A step by step process to convert enquiries and leads into sales – the actions taken to prepare for each sale.  How you overcome concerns.  Build trust/understand the buyers goals/create certainty that your product meets their needs/ overcome fear of making the wrong decision/officially confirm the sale.  Develop a process.
  • There is value in trying to convert old and cold prospects. It may be time to approach another prospect in the target company.
  • Qualify leads so you don’t waste time. If a prospect isn’t ready to buy don’t give them to the sales team.  Provide useful mailshots and wait your time.
  • Spend enough time researching the buyer’s needs, then offer the solution to win the sale. It is important to listen and find the solution for the prospect.
  • Measure your conversion rate and always have a planned agenda for the sales meetings to keep you in control and set the appropriate expectations.

The Business Exposure Group members came up with the following points.

Offer content and information that educates, regular newsletters are the beginning of the process.

  • Fish where the big fish are, don’t waste time trying to convince people to buy when they are clearly not interested or ready to commit.
  • Establish a no communication deadline to remove redundant prospects from your pipeline.
  • Follow up your initial call a few days later asking questions, eg, have you had a chance to go over the information and make a decision? 80% of all significant sales occur only after a minimum of 5 follow ups. Following up will apply pressure and open up dialogue to discover questions and concerns that the prospect may have.
  • Have a list of scripted answers readily available for every possible objection/query
  • Remind them that you have a solution that is going to make them more money
  • Don’t adopt a one size fits all approach, target and segment, focus on the best prospects first
  • Increase the skills of your sales force, make them appear helpful not pushy, and the overall product knowledge of your team will reduce the risk factor facing the prospect.

The future for any business is to develop a well thought out process to maximise the conversion of prospects.

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How are you getting past the gatekeeper?

One of the fundamental skills an entrepreneur must learn if they are to develop a successful business is the ability to get past the gatekeeper; in other words, the receptionist, personal assistant or secretary who stands between you and the key decision maker of a company.

Most influential people or business owners will establish some form of shield to safeguard their time and relieve workload pressure.  This means your email, phone call or visit is likely to be wasted, unless you cultivate the skills which will enable you to bypass these defences.

Good salespeople tend to differentiate their voice so they don’t sound like they’re ringing from a call centre. Asking for the decision-maker’s first name will give the impression you’re already well acquainted.
A strong and professional tone will project an air of seniority and the gatekeeper may not wish to offend you by probing too deeply into your purpose for calling.

Successfully bypassing the gatekeeper involves more research on the prospect and fewer calls. You need to understand who you’re dealing with and identify an angle or common ground that effortlessly leads on to your message.

It’s important that during your research you identify the key decision-maker straightaway and make sure you talk to them otherwise your message is ultimately lost. Business owners should adopt a different strategy when communicating to corporate clients, SMEs or sole traders.

Be friendly with the gatekeeper and create a relationship. The more you can engage the gatekeeper, the more successful you will be at getting close to the decision maker. Ask the gatekeeper about the best time and method of contacting the decision-maker. Help the gatekeeper to look good in the business eyes of their boss by providing a solution to them.
Gatekeepers aren’t just there to field calls, their judgement can be key to providing added value to the decision maker’s business so their influence should be respected.

The first call should always be about research and not the sale. Gatekeepers will know and understand an organisation inside and out and will know who you should be talking to.

Friday afternoons are a good time to call especially if you want the senior decision maker.

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How to take the risk out of outsourcing

A growing number of businesses are looking externally to carry out aspects of their operation. Is this trend the result of the recent recession?

Businesses always encounter periods in which they need to draw upon the expertise of someone else to carry out a function that will improve their business or to cut costs where staffing is concerned. But the question we’re left with is if the economic climate wasn’t so challenging would they still be so keen?

New businesses usually tend to take on every aspect of their operation themselves but as they start to grow, the idea of outsourcing
becomes very appealing and many see it as a way of cutting costs and buying expertise without the hassle of employment issues. Like a wave effect, eventually that same business will bring everything back in-house again to re-establish control when they become even bigger.

There are a number of benefits of course to outsourcing, most notably the fact it allows you to concentrate on what you’re good at. It provides the perfect opportunity of acquiring the skills of external experts who can help give you a competitive edge and can reduce staffing costs.

However, there are as many pitfalls as there are advantages. You don’t have direct control, service delivery can be hit and miss and you can occasionally encounter problems with confidentiality.

There’s also the issue of training. If you’re outsourcing call centre work, they have to be able to deal with every eventuality facing them and how long is this training going to take and cost?

Obviously if you’re outsourcing overseas there are also big cultural differences. And when people already have staff and say they’re going to outsource does that create issues with the current workforce?

It is for these reasons why 50% of outsourcing fails.

But lessons have been learnt and there are factors which give outsourcing a better chance of working.

If you want to outsource, use it for secondary functions only such as IT, Lead generation, HR, and PR & Marketing.

There’s also a greater chance of success if time is spent building a relationship with the outsourcing agent and the expectation needs to be very realistic. Business people need to research the provider’s track record, take bank references, check out how stable they are and create a ‘ways of working’ document between the two parties.

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