In yesterday’s post, we looked at five key mistakes many entrepreneurs make when trying to engage a potential prospect. Unfortunately, as a consequence of poor planning or a lack of knowledge many sales people fail to open a new business conversation effectively. This can have a negative impact on the progression of a new company formation to a start up business. In this post we aim to give some practical advice on how to engage a potential prospect and win new business.
Think beyond closing the deal
This may sound like bizarre advice, as obviously this is the fundamental objective. However, the minute a potential prospect gets the impression that they are getting the ‘hard sell’ they will automatically disengage from the meeting. It doesn’t matter how great the product is, if the sales delivery is oppressive, your brand message will be lost and so will the sale.
Pay attention to the person you are selling to
Many entrepreneurs still adhere to the old school sales technique of talking a length and in great detail about the product or service they are trying to sell. However, a more effective sales strategy would be to focus attention directly on to the prospect, prompting to ask questions and answering them in an engaging and confident way. This will help them to imagine the product or service you are selling as the solution to a problem within their company.
This strategy can be applied to all sales platforms. If you are cold calling, change your opening statement from the standard ill-conceived introduction – ‘Hi how are you’ – to, identifying and explaining a problem your research revealed that a that particular industry is experiencing for example;
“Hi, if your company like many others in the business to business sector is experiencing problems with marketing give me a call. We might be able to help. By the way it is James calling from B2B Marketing”
You can also use this strategy in face to face meetings. Instead of opening the meeting with a twenty five slide power point presentation on the features of your product or service, start the meeting by asking the potential client if they are experiencing a particular problem you know to be characteristic of their industry. Not only does this allow you to show that you have a detailed knowledge of their sector, it also gives the client the chance to talk and immediately engages them in your proposition.
In conclusion, in the current economic climate it is more important than ever to increase new business. However, due to budget cuts and increasing economic pressure on the SME, spending has decreased. Therefore , the sales strategies can no longer afford to be ineffective; they must be planned, considered and bespoke to each client you are talking to if your brand is to differentiate and prove that it can help a prospects business