By Robert Estupinian
These days every business owner is out there making sales calls to drum up business.
The conventional wisdom has been that the more prospects we call on the better. This has been known as filling up the sales funnel. This approach needs modification if entrepreneurs want to thrive and grow their business
The main idea being that the more prospects you call on the more customers will come out at the end of the funnel. True, there will be many that won’t turn into customers, but over the long run it would be worth your efforts.
Today, this strategy is very expensive given the increase in competition and decrease in the resources. The fact is making a sales call has a tremendous cost to any business owner in time and effort. Spending time with the wrong prospects is extremely unprofitable and can actually take away from other profitable activities.
So, let’s take a look at what can be done to maximize this activity for bottom line profits.
Step 1. Don’t data dump on your prospect.
The average entrepreneur has a tendency to call on a prospect and begin to download everything about their product and services as soon as they get past the greeting. Most of the time all they talk about are features of their products/services rather discuss what is in it for the prospect. This is one reason that prospects usually just shuts down.
When a prospect gets the data dumb many times the prospects responds by just tell you they need to think about it. Truth is they began to shut down at the beginning of the meeting and now they just want to end the meeting and go on with their day. Many times if we are dealing with the president of the company or other top executive we may not get a second chance to make another presentation.
Research shows that customers only retain up to three sentences before they are overloaded. A better approach is a consultative customer centric presentation where the entrepreneur is using open questions and eliciting requests for feedback from the prospect.
Step 2. Let the Customer Talk and Really Listen
This does not mean sitting quietly and coming up with the next thing to say. Listening intently is more than hearing what they are saying. It also involves taking in information regarding the prospects attitude and mood. Then being able to adjust the presentation accordingly and build trust and rapport. Without trust and rapport there simply is no way that the prospect will buy from you. So, it is extremely important that they feel understood by you and not sold.
Step 3 Quickly determine if they are a buyer and if they will buy soon
There is no sense in wasting time on trying to convince someone that they should buy your services or products. Similarly there are those prospects who want to buy but either it is not the right time or they lack the ability to buy.
Average entrepreneurs have a tendency to fill the funnel with prospects in “hope” that they will someday become customers. All this activity only results in having a very big funnel full of hope and that is dangerous to the survival of the business.
Sure, some folks in the funnel will eventually buy, but is that a strategy that any smart business person should use in this economy? As I stated above, businesses need to spend their time on prospects that are ready and willing to buy now.
This means that targeting the right prospects in the first place is paramount to sales success. Then understanding these three easy steps will reduce wasting time, increase efficiency and really grow profits.
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