GUEST BLOG : KOA CONSULTING : 10 Steps to Win More Business
Sales and marketing have never been more competitive in business than they are right now. Building a successful business is directly dependent on winning and then retaining great clients. I say ‘great clients’ because not every customer is right for your business and vice versa. Good sales is not sell sell sell! It’s not “convincing” the other person to buy from you at all costs, it’s about building relationships and demonstrating the value your product or service brings to that individual or company.
Below are a few steps that you can implement to help you win and keep more business:
- Research – I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough. How many times do you get someone contacting you on LinkedIn or phoning you, trying to sell you something that is obviously not right for you or, worst still, you already do yourself? Not only is this a waste of their time but it also has a negative effect on the reputation of that company. So, before you approach someone, spend some time looking at their website, looking at their LinkedIn activity and their other social media profiles, as well as doing a quick google to see what else comes up in the press for them.
- Qualify – After you have completed your research, evaluate how they fit your ideal customer persona. Again, this saves both you and them time. There is nothing worse than working on a prospect and finding out too late that they are not suitable for your services or product. You could lose the sale after a lot of work or, worse, you could secure the sale and then underdeliver. Before you approach anyone, spend some time deciding who your ideal client is, where they are located, what size company they work for, their age and job title. Not only will this ensure you are securing the RIGHT clients, but you will be confident in knowing that you add value to them. This will give you more time to focus your efforts on prospects that are the most likely to purchase.
- Ask the right questions – As we said at the beginning, don’t sell. Instead, asking the right questions when you are talking to your prospect will determine the areas in which you can best help them, and it allows you the opportunity to talk about how your solution resolves those issues. By asking the right questions, the conversation is much more likely to flow and you might find out information that helps you to give value to that individual. If you have a solution that genuinely fits, it should sell itself. That being said, please take note of the ‘close the deal’ point below.
- Focus on their objectives – We know your objective is to secure a new client, but this meeting isn’t about you. Your prospect doesn’t really want to hear about you, they want to know that you can help them achieve their objectives. These could be personal objectives or company objectives. The key is to ask the right questions, listen (see point 7) and align your messages to their objectives. This will not only help you secure the sale in the first place, but also ensure you maintain their custom by keeping their objectives in view.
- Add value – If you have asked the right questions, you should know how your service or product adds genuine value to your prospect. If it doesn’t, be honest and walk away. If the benefits of your service or product outweighs the cost, it becomes much easier to secure the sale.
- Be truthful – If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t force it on. This is a short-term strategy that will backfire in the end. If you don’t add value or your solution/product isn’t right – be truthful and say so. As human beings we are quite good lie detectors and we can pick up when someone is not being truthful, so it’s best avoided. Overselling (or miss-selling) causes reputational damage that is hard to undo. In this case, as your mother probably used to say, honesty is always the best policy.
- Just listen – It’s best to let your prospect do the talking, let them tell you about their company and its objectives. By actively listening to your prospect, you build rapport, and it shows that you care about them and their needs. It also gives you the information you need to demonstrate how your solution or product fits their requirements.
- Have confidence – Have confidence in what you’re selling and in yourself. You need to make your prospect feel confident in you, your company and your offer. It’s much easier to do this if you feel confident in yourself. If you need to, give yourself a little pep talk before the call or meeting.
- Don’t forget to close the deal – You’ve asked the questions, you’ve listened, you have demonstrated the value of what you do, now you need to close the deal. Summarise the meeting and don’t be afraid to ask if they would like to go ahead, or if there is anything holding them back from moving it forward with you. If it’s a longer sales cycle this may not be at the same meeting. If you’ve done the other steps well, this bit should flow naturally but a lot of salespeople tend to forget the close. Remember, don’t be pushy.
- Lastly, don’t forget to follow up – Whether you have secured the deal or not, you should always follow up. ‘Thanks for the meeting’, ‘thanks for coming on board’, ‘do you need any further information to move it forward?’ are all good suggestions for follow up communication. 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow-up.
Since relationships are built on trust, maintaining integrity, staying authentic and actively listening to your prospects will win in the end. If you want to look at how you can improve your sales, win and retain more clients please get in touch.