I remember when I was fresh out of college and working for my father, who at the time had owned his business for 25 years. I was his “gatekeeper,” and would filter all his sales calls and faxes (yes, people actually used to sell things via fax).
To this day, whenever I hear the term “cold calling” I think about how hard it was for anyone to get in front of my dad, even if what they were selling would help him.
Even though he usually avoided sales calls at all costs, once a year my dad wanted to schedule appointments with every media company consultant so he could plan his marketing strategy for the coming year.
Just think of how much time a salesperson could save and how much more profitable the company could be if all lead prospecting could go this way. Well, you’re in luck - I’ve come up with 3 ways for you to increase sales AND simplify your sales process.
1. Use Sales Tracking Technology
Thanks to modern technology, salespeople no longer have to deal with paper files and sticky notes just to keep track of prospects, pipelines, and close ratios. Now, everything from lead nurturing and qualifying all the way down to closing and collecting payment can be tracked.
Sales tracking systems or CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) like Salesforce can help sales departments stay organized and efficient. One great function of a CRM is that you can classify leads as cold, warm, or hot so you know where to dedicate your time.
What’s another awesome sales tool I use? Here at VIEO Design, it’s all about Sidekick by HubSpot! Sidekick notifies you each time a contact opens your emails, tells you which links they click, and even gives you a “cheat sheet” of info about them and their company. Watch my fellow salesperson Tim Lott’s video blog about the Sidekick email tracking software to learn more!
2. Create a Pre-Call Checklist
Okay, you’ve gotten your foot in the door and now you have roughly 30 minutes, maybe 60 if you’re lucky, to make an impression. How are you going to show this business owner or marketing director that you’re invested in their company and ready to help them?
Be prepared and do your homework! Your sales team can create a pre-call checklist that asks questions like “What is their social media presence?” or “Are they blogging regularly?” Do some keyword searches on Google and see if they are doing PPC or if they rank high organically. Better yet, find out where their competitors stand and what they could do to gain ground.
Knowing all of this before a call can help the conversation flow and give you valuable information like their goals and challenges. When you can show them that you have real, specific value to offer, you’re more likely to get a meeting!
3. Be Honest and Transparent Up Front
As a salesperson, you always want to close the deal, but you know that isn’t always going to be the case. Sometimes, what you offer isn’t the best fit, or maybe it’s just not in their budget.
There have been plenty of times I’ve talked to business owners about marketing and the timeline for ROI wasn’t what they expected. I always try to be honest and transparent up front, because it’s very hard for my team to reach unrealistic goals.
Asking “What’s your budget?” or having a potential client ask you “How much will this cost?” can be uncomfortable, so think smart and put yourself in their shoes before responding.
A good response might be “Typically, our services fall in this price range. In my experience, this is well below the cost of hiring someone to perform these services in-house.” But even then, what you offer may be completely out of the budget for your prospect. Remember—it’s not rocket science! Just establish these expectations sooner rather than later to save both parties’ time.