Let me get to the switch on that bait right off the bat. Your sales pitch is probably okay. What really sucks is your sales approach. But, that might not make you feel any better.
The sales world is changing. In my opinion, the consumer isn’t really changing but, instead, the options available to consumers in they way they buy makes the consumer realize they don’t have to put up with the crap traditional sales people spin. Inbound marketing has changed the way people buy and if sales people are still using the old methods of selling the consumer simply gets angry.
The purpose of inbound marketing is to simply attract your customer to you instead of insulting them with endless shouting advertisements. I think it makes sense to finally come to the realization that a strong inbound marketing philosophy requires a strong inbound sales process.
As the owner of a business you can bet that sales people call on me all the time. I get emails, letters in snail-mail, and phone calls on a daily basis. I am surprised how often I still get sales people that pop-in with the old, “well, I happened to be in the neighborhood...” line.
If you have ever used one of the following statements in a call or email to get your first appointment, then you are guilty of old school, tired tactics to sell your stuffs. If you are using these approaches, it’s time to get with the times.
These sales approaches have two things in common. First, I because have had these three in my inbox this week they don't provide any unique value. Second, they exhibit the attitude of, "I have something to sell and I want to see if you want to buy."
I know that I am a very difficult person to sell to. If you can figure out how to sell to me, you can probably be more successful in your sales career. I will challenge you and push you in ways you won’t like. I won't pretend to be the best sales person but I understand that sales should be a natural process and if someone is trying to manufacture a problem they can solve, then they are simply using tired tactics that only worked because they were the only options.
Here are the reasons I choose to buy from a sales person or, better, what it takes to get me to love you as a sales person and ultimately trust you enough to buy from you. BTW. Notice the graphics associated with the first four tips. They are directly related to an awesome inbound sales process.
Getting the first appointment is the hardest part with me. I've trained my gatekeepers to screen calls from sales people. The fact is, they are pretty, freakin’ awesome at it. They likely filter out at least half of the riffraff that want to take my hard-earned money.
Today I heard the term pleasantly persistent. This is they key to getting through. When my gatekeepers see someone is genuinely working hard to get the appointment and is a genuine person, it wears on them and they'll eventually encourage me to at least take the appointment. They won't do this if the person is a jerk or a blatant idiot. In fact, when a sales person is a jerk to them, they take it as a source of pride to prevent me from having to deal with them. (As a side note, if the sales person is truly an idiot, they also take pride in letting me tell the doofus to never call on us again… ‘cuz I can be really “fun” when that conversation has to take place.)
I am also very open if I see constant, appropriate efforts in email, phone, snail-mail, etc. I may ignore your email the first dozen times. If it's personally sent and doesn’t appear to be automated then I am less likely to delete. I may not take action. I may still delete it. But, I won't be frustrated. At some point I'll feel obligated to at least respond with something you can work with, if you are good.
If you are selling something that is relevant to what I need, your chances of getting the appointment greatly increase... as long as your approach is more about me and less about you. Even if I don't plan on buying for a long time, I'll be more likely to let you meet with me and start the relationship if your product is relevant. Your messages will be less likely to be ignored.
This is a challenge for any sales person because you never know what's going to hit the nail on the head. For any sales person that is good, I'm an open book. I blog a lot. I'm very active on social media. If you simply take a little time to actually do your research, you’ll know exactly what I’m interested in.
I'm amazed how often I get pitched to buy a product or service that I actually sell. If you don't understand me well enough to understand what I sell then you don't deserve my time.
This, I think, is the hardest thing to get. Some people are naturally curious enough that they are interested in what other people do. They want to find out more. As such, it's easier for them to ask me, with genuine interest, what's important to me. I personally am one that have to work harder to take time initially to find that common ground of interest.
Just as genuine interest is the hardest thing for a sales person to have, it's the easiest for me to identify when someone is being fake. I can tell by the questions you ask and how quickly you get to the pitch.
I don't want the fake pleasantries. Too often sales people have been drilled so much to build some sort of relationship that it's obvious they are trying to get to some common ground with trite questions and comments.
If you get the first appointment, you have to get to your point to demonstrate relevancy by asking questions about me that helps me know you are relevant, have done your homework, and are genuinely interested in me. If your product is not immediately obvious how it's relevant, then you have to show me how you are relevant for me to take the time to learn about your product.
When you get the first appointment I'm likely going to be pretty impatient. If you know me already, you'll know that I'm very process oriented and am very quickly ready to move on to the next thing. I might even be a little ADD in my approach to just about everything.
I get that this is an interesting challenge from showing genuine interest. I want you to get to the point in the pitch. I will give you time to get to know me if you are genuine but when it’s time for the pitch, please get to the point.
I don't like the big set up and then the big reveal. For example, when I ask you for a price range, I don't want to hear, "Well, I can't really give you a range because it really depends on..."
Come on, give me a break; I'm smarter than that. You have worked with companies my size before. You have done other deals. You can give me a range. Very little in life anymore is so custom that we can’t put some sort of range on our products and services.
Don't play dumb and don't stall. I want to know quickly whether or not you have value to me. Remember, I have money that you want. If I can't afford you then there is no point talking. If I don't see value quickly, I'm going to show you to the door.
Get to the point quickly. Show me value. Then build the case around it.
Oh, and if you jerk me around in this, answer, I’m probably going to be pretty rude.
I'm going to hold you to a pretty high standard and I'm going to test you. Because I know how to sell and I understand the sales process, I'm going to expect you to walk me through the steps to buy your product.
I don't want you to jump ahead to the end to the "buy my product" line. I am going to expect you to take me to the next step in the process. I'm going to expect trial closes. I'm going to expect you to ask for the next appointment. I'm going to expect follow-ups. I'm going to expect you to be willing to hear, "no" and I'm going to test how you handle it.
In fact, sometimes I'll tell you that I'm going to think about it to see what you do. Are you going to send me a follow-up email about our meeting? Are you going to call me when you said you would? Are you going to resolve my concerns? Are you going to be patient or be pushy?
If you don't understand the sales process, I'll give you little nudges to help you along. If you still don't get it, I'm probably not going to buy from you. But, if after giving you opportunities to correct your sales approach with some hints and guidance, you still screw up, I’m going to be upset with you and show you the door.
When I meet a sales person that is really trying to be successful and trying to do it right, I want that person to succeed. If I see that you are genuine but are struggling, I'll help you through it. I'll even give you pointers and advice. The better you take that advice, the more likely we'll have a long-term relationship.
A long-term relationship means I will give you more money and I will connect you with people that can give you more money. It doesn't mean I'm going to hang out with you. It doesn't mean we are going to be best friends forever. But it does mean that I'll take care of you.
I mentioned that Inbound marketing has changed the way people buy. Inbound sales is the answer to that. It's the tie in that consumers need. Today, Hubspot is launching their software that enables inbound sales. It's conveniently called Hubspot Sales (clever, huh?). No fancy calls to action here but if you are interested in a demo account, drop us a line. Oh, and I get it. I'm Inbound Sales Certified.
Don't ask me to tell you who to go sell to. Don't give me $100 for a referral... that’s an insult to our relationship. Don't expect me to do your job for you. I'll give you leads if I trust you and if I see that someone needs your service.
Until we are friends with an established relationship you will probably think I'm very rude. When I'm kind to you and don't rush you, that's how you'll know you're on the right track. If you don't think I'm rude by the end of the first meeting, congratulations, you might be able to make some money... eventually.