Preparing for the Sales Conversation
In our last articles we discussed generating and capturing leads. In most cases, these ‘leads’ fall into one of 3 categories:
- Ready to talk about a sale
- Need more information before making a buying decision
- Not really interested or not ready to make a buying commitment
Here is the challenge: How do you 1) determine which category your new lead falls into; and 2) how do you effectively follow up so you can maximize your sales efforts?
When you have a prospect ready to buy, they need to be quickly connected to someone who can make a sale. Prospects who are forced to wait when they are ready to buy will find another option.
A prospect who needs more information before making a buying decision can be lost by starting the sales process early. At the same time, if you don’t follow up and provide necessary feedback based on their response, you risk losing their business as well.
And finally, it is important to ‘stay in touch’ with prospects who show little initial interest in buying. An effective low touch campaign can keep prospects engaged until they have more interest. If a prospect is impressed with you today but not ready to make a buying commitment staying in touch will help keep you as an option when they are ready to engage.
Businesses use a variety of systems and tactics to manage these sales challenges – called Customer Relationship Management (CRM for short). There are a variety of software offerings that help manage the CRM process. Some common names include:
These systems range in features from basic email systems to complete lead scoring and management systems. With an effective CRM system in place, you can filter and nurture your prospects until they are ready for the first sales conversation
What is a Sales Conversation?
At Leadstra we identify a ‘Sales Conversation’ as the first time a prospect engages directly with a member of your business. There are many ways that a prospect shows up and it is important that you have a system for effectively managing this first conversation. The first conversation will have several very specific purposes. These include:
- Building rapport and credibility
- Establishing a peer-to-peer relationship
- Identifying need (pain) and filtering the prospect so they meet your requirements for a good customer
- Agreeing to a mutually acceptable follow up
By building a ‘first conversation’ process that focuses on these steps, your prospect will be ready for what comes next.
What comes after the Sales Conversation
In some cases after the first sales conversation the prospect needs to go back into the CRM process until their need is strong enough or they meet your criteria for becoming a good customer. In other cases, they move immediately to a closing conversation.
A well trained sales professional working with an effective CRM system will have a good understanding of what the prospect has shown interest in. Armed with effective questions they can begin the filtering process. This will lead to the opportunity to close the sale or refer the prospect to more information if they are not ready to close a deal.
The key to sales and marketing success is having a system that effectively moves the prospect to a point where a sales rep can engage them effectively. If your sales and marketing system seem out of sync, we’d enjoy trying to help you evaluate where your system may be failing.