I love the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. I believe most sales, especially service-based ones, don’t happen quickly either.
I have always drummed into my clients the importance of forming a relationship with their clients before they try to sell them anything. When you have formed this relationship, you then have the prospect’s permission to follow up with them and stay in constant contact, even if they haven’t yet made a buying decision to engage your product or services.
So many business owners are in hurry these days and engage ‘push selling’ as their sales method of choice. This is something I am strongly against and instead like to take the time to nurture the potential relationship.
Don’t rush things and don’t be pushy. Did you know that 80 per cent of sales are made on the fifth to 10th contact between a prospect and the business? Making sure you give your prospect time to think about your offer is a good thing – but it's equally important to be persistent and follow up.
Unless there's a hard deadline at their end due to a date commitment, prospects generally don't feel urgency in getting back to you. People find it easy to be distracted by more pressing issues. That's why it's your job to stay at the top of their mind and have a foolproof follow-up process in place to nurture your relationships.
Chances are that prospects in need of a service are going to have options. Your job is to find out what your competitors are offering and identify your unique selling proposition. What is it that distinguishes your service from those of other businesses? What makes your business the best choice? Knowing what your competitors have to offer enables you to speak intelligently about your unique selling proposition.
I believe that we are never in competition with anyone as no one else can provide the exact same touch or experience as you. Yet you still need to know what others in your niche are offering.
Now comes the key point: the less you say, the more effective you are as a salesperson and the more leads you will be able to convert into clients. Often, when you ask a question, staying silent for a bit longer than usual can be very effective. Three to four seconds is known as the ‘golden silence’ in sales as it forces the other person to open up about their needs for connecting with you to hopefully solve their problem.
Once you've established rapport and trust, the prospect is more likely to offer the real information on what they need solved. Listen to what your prospects have to say and adjust your sales technique and positioning accordingly, focusing on their pain points and what is important to them, not what is important to you.
I like to constantly engage with anyone who has made an enquiry via my website, social media, or in a webinar or at a live event. I do this by adding value with some special bonus information or resources, which I have proven keeps me top of mind and always visible.
I see many business owners do well with the lead generation and sales pitch, but then fall over at the last hurdle with a poor follow-up system, or sometimes no system at all.
As mentioned earlier, most sales – especially high-end programs or products – don’t sell first time around. I have had someone who first enquired about one of my signature programs 12 months earlier finally come to me and say, “Nat, I am now ready and thanks for always motivating me with your newsletters and constant updates online.”
I have a system that works. I am consistent and always add value. How you choose to sell as a business owner comes down to your style, personality and beliefs. Just make sure that your follow-up system is in place to stay top of mind rather than be easily overlooked and forgotten.