Everyone, whether a buyer, seller, marketer or manager, is crunched for time. No one has time to waste when doing business, and as a seller, you certainly do not want to waste hours on a project or a prospect unlikely to score returns.
1. Make the first move.
Some believe that the sooner you get in touch with a prospect, the greater the likelihood he or she will convert into a customer. Attention spans are short these days, so you need to move as quickly as possible.
Gauge the person’s level of engagement and see how far along he or she has moved. Has the person just signed up for more information? Or has the prospect viewed your products and price list?
Understand how and why the person came to interact with you. When you make a call, put things in context. By making the first call relevant and timely, you will have a more meaningful conversation.
2. Don’t sell to the unmotivated.
But don’t approach those who are not ready. You are the best judge of who is really ready to make a commitment and who is just shopping around. If you feel that someone has little or no intention of buying anything, move that person to your marketing list. If the person shows genuine interest later, you can then get back in touch.
3. Make use of the prospect’s best time.
Traditionalists will tell you that calling someone after 5 p.m. is inappropriate and calling someone before 10 a.m. is rude. But is there a strict 9-to-5 code in today’s business world?
Once you begin interacting with a prospect, you’ll get an idea of when he or she is free to speak and in the best frame of mind to have a conversation that will make an impact.
Schedule your calls to the person’s convenience. He or she will appreciate if you call at a convenient time and then you’ll have the person’s attention for sharing more before you move to a close.
4. Qualify your leads.
Just because a person shared contact details with you does not mean he or she qualifies as a sales lead. Be careful before taking the bait. Jumping at any chance to sell will result in wasted time, resources and energy. Ask yourself the following questions:
Budget: Does the lead have enough money to purchase your product?
Authority: Does this person have the authority to make a purchase decision?
Need: Does he or she have a genuine need for your product or a problem that your product can fix?
Timeline: Has he or she specified a desired time frame for making a purchase?
Ask other questions to determine if a person qualifies as a real lead. Assess the overall mood of his or her company or any internal relationships that might influence a purchase decision. These questions help determine whether the lead is worth pursuing from the start.
5. Plan for tomorrow.
You won’t close any deals without following up. Since following up will be part of your daily routine, why not plan ahead? The worst way to start your day (and the best way to waste time) is arriving at work in the morning and trying to figure out whom to call and what to say.
By planning which people to call back and scheduling automated follow-ups, you can erase the headache of scrambling for numbers and information. And if you log your calls and make a quick note about what has been discussed, you’ll know exactly where you left off so you can avoid repetition and focus on only what will move the deal forward.
6. Make it personal.
Strive to forge a personal connection and genuinely relate to your prospect and his or her situation. But don’t force the conversation. Did the customer just get married, have a baby or move to a new city? Talk about this before you dive into business. The initial interaction may need to be formal and professional, but you can break down some of the barriers as conversation progresses.