Let’s say you have a hot lead call in and they fit your ideal client profile, and they’re ready to buy now. It’s a dream sales call. I bet you get pretty excited when you get one of those, right? I bet you want to rush in and tell them everything about you, and explain why you’re the best man/woman/cat for the job, don’t you? STOP! Take a breath and then take a different approach.
If you want to get those hot leads over the line and turn them into profitable customers who stay with you for the long term, you need to do a few crucial things at the very beginning, or you might lose them forever.
We’ve got well over 1000 happy website clients and I don’t want to brag (much) but our sales conversion rate is pretty phenomenal for our industry (as is our super low customer attrition rate). When we started off back in 2009 it took us a little while to perfect our sales pitch, to understand how to communicate our offer, to move away from features and focus on benefits and to achieve the results we now get. Eventually though, it just came naturally. But ‘doing it naturally’ isn’t helpful to YOU if you want to get the same kinds of results. Sure, it’s easy to say we were lucky having a charismatic sales guy or two, and yes we were, but there’s a secret ingredient to it. And I’m going to tell you what that is. Luckily about 18 months ago, when we decided to launch a website reseller program, we realised we needed to understand the reasons behind our success so we could systemise it and teach it to other creative professionals. We discovered the biggest ‘secret’ behind our growth (other than a kick-arse product) is something anyone in ANY industry can apply to themselves. That’s right, it doesn’t relate to the IT or web industry at all, it relates to how you RELATE to people.
It’s all about rapport.
And you start building that with one simple concept: It’s all about them, it’s not about you. Now, you don’t have to be an extravert to build rapport, but you do need to be able to listen and to communicate effectively; and most of us can do that if we focus and have just a little patience… even me! You don’t need to push the company rah-rah-rah on them, you don’t need to take up all the airspace with you talking about you. You need to find out about them, you need to show you’re listening by responding intelligently and, if possible, throw in just a little bit of light hearted humour. Most of all, you need to be real.
Ultimately a potential client will make their own decision based on a FEELING about you, they don’t care as much about the product or the price if they LIKE you and TRUST you, so respect that and build the good feelings by not being too fake or salesy.
But, of course we live in a material world and we gots to pay the rent, so yes, you’re looking to close the deal too. So be calm but be focussed and look for opportunities to show how YOU can solve their problems better than the next business they call… without seeming too pushy.
Here’s a tip to build rapport, act like you’re not doing it for the sale.
Although, between you and me, of course you want to make sales! But it’s important not to seem TOO eager. Success breeds success, and if you sound desperate you’ll be undermining your ability to seem like the expert in your field that you are. After all, if you’re scratching around desperate for clients, how good could you truly be? If you’re just starting off a business of COURSE you need clients pretty badly, I was there once too, but there’s that old saying ‘fake it til you make it’ and it really works. Yes I know I’ve just said to be real and to fake it in the same article, but I hope you can see when to apply both concepts! So, here’s another practical tip, take the role of a friendly consultant. Consultative selling makes it much easier. Show empathy towards them and their business problems. You need to care. You’re guiding and educating them and showing them how to get what they want… whether they buy from you now, later… or never!