Do you have a friend or family member who monopolizes every conversation? They probably aren't your favorite person to talk to. Add a bragging tone and they become especially intolerable.
Just like you don't like listening to a self-absorbed acquaintance blabber, buyers don't like listening to salespeople talk at length about their companies or offerings. What you perceive as informative and interesting, prospects perceive as obnoxious and irrelevant.
The cardinal rule of sales is to always make it about your buyer. Every email you write, voicemail you leave, demo you give, and meeting you attend should place the focus squarely on the buyer. Constantly ask yourself, "What's the relevance to this particular prospect?" and customize each interaction accordingly.
How will you know what's relevant? See below.
2. Do your research before reaching out.
If you expect buyers to give you their time and learn about your product, you need to spend time learning about them first. In the age of social media, there's no excuse to call or email a buyer with no knowledge of what they do and what they care about.
Pre-call research doesn't have to take a long time. Depending on your particular sales cycle, as little as five or 10 minutes per prospect might suffice.
Here are eight places to research prospects before you attempt to engage them in conversation:
Twitter (prospect's individual account and company's account)
Company's press releases page
Competitors' press releases pages
Company financial statements
Google (prospect and company)
And if you’re using CTOCオンライン, you can pipe all of this known information about a prospect directly into your Inbox.
3. Build rapport first.
If a customer entered a retail store, you wouldn't immediately say, "Hello, would you like to buy this blouse?" You'd likely start by asking, "How are you today?" and then, "What brings you in today?" You might sprinkle in comments like, "I love that top you're wearing." or qualifying questions like, "So, you're looking for a cocktail dress. May I ask what the occasion is?"
Similarly, when you're conducting B2B outreach to a prospect you haven't spoken with before, it's important to lean heavily on the research element we touched on in step two.
If you notice your prospect lives in Phoenix, do a quick Google search of new restaurants in the area, and open by asking if they've been and what their favorite dish is. Are they from Colorado? Open by asking how the snow is this season and if they're a skier.
The bottom line: Get to know your prospect before you launch into what you have to offer, why they should care, and why you're better than your competitors.
After all, we're just human beings. Talk to your prospect like a human before speaking to them like a salesperson.
4. Define your buyer.
This might seem like a paradox, but the secret of selling anything to anybody is not attempting to sell just anything to just anybody.
Whether you work in retail, auto sales, or B2B business you'll have far more success if you're familiar with the characteristics of your target buyers and thoroughly qualify each prospect against that matrix. This is called an ideal buyer profile, and it's like having a secret weapon.
By finding the specific type of "anybody" who is just right for your product or service, you'll avoid wasting time on poor-fit leads. Instead, you'll have more time to devote to buyers with a good chance of becoming customers.
5. Contribute first, sell second.
If you're defining your target buyer correctly, you'll spend the majority of your day talking to business leaders who have problems your product or service can solve. But just because you know this doesn't mean they do.
Don't jump in with your pitch right off the bat. You run the risk of angering the prospect or scaring them away. Instead, offer your help in the way you think would be most valuable. Not sure where you can be of service? Ask.
Maybe you can send along a breakdown of the latest features of a buyer's target car, or send them a piece of content that speaks their needs. Perhaps you can draw on your expertise to speak about industry-wide trends the buyer might not be privy to.
Pro tip: Save templates of common questions you receive from buyers, so you can quickly follow up with a relevant message. A free tool like CTOCオンライン, can help you spend more time selling and less time drafting repetitive emails.
Position yourself as an advisor who wants to help, rather than a salesperson thirsty to sell. With this approach, you'll find a more receptive audience when you finally get around to connecting their problem with your offering. In short: Always Be Helping.
As social selling expert Jill Rowley puts it, "Think 'jab, jab, jab, right hook' as 'give, give, give, ask.'"