In my last blog post I discussed cold-calling techniques and explained how cold calling isn’t all about “the sale”. Today I’ll touch on some techniques related to sales qualifying and ways you can improve your skills so you can close more deals.
Cold calling is not a favorite task of even the most seasoned sales professionals. However, it’s a fact that businesses can’t survive without generating revenue, so proficiency in all matter of selling tactics is critical. One of the keys to being skillful in this arena is to know how to qualify your prospects.
Here are some sales qualifying tips:
- Never go immediately into a product presentation or "pitch" when you first call on a prospect, no matter how much planning you’ve done prior to the call. This is not only the most common mistake made by cold callers in training, it’s the biggest mistake I see many seasoned sales professionals make as well. On any call, you must start by letting the person know who you are and the purpose for your call before you just launch into your own agenda.
- Understand what the goals and needs of your prospect are before you call on them. Know their primary customers. Know who they are trying to reach, and how are they trying to reach them. For instance, if you are trying to sell your prospect advertising space, do some homework to find out where they are currently advertising. The more you understand your prospect’s target, the better off you’ll be when it comes to driving the conversation and achieving your goal.
- Be prepared to address your buyer’s potential concerns. One of the most effective ways to do this is to ask a few well-thought-out questions to uncover what is most important to the prospect. This becomes part of the call agenda we discussed in the last post. Here are a few examples of the kinds of questions you should be asking:
1. “Before I called I was doing some research and I noticed you currently use ACME Company for XYZ. How long have they been your supplier? And, if I may ask, what do you like most about doing business with them?”
2. “If you could change one aspect of the current arrangement with ACME, what would it be and why?”
3. “What are the most important issues that you would like to see addressed should you decide to go with a new supplier?”
4. “Tell me about a key problem you currently face with your existing ACME supplier where you’re looking for an alternative solution and why...”
5. “What is your greatest challenge and why?”
If you really want to separate your company from your competition you need to take the time to learn about the ins and outs of your prospect’s business, and then demonstrate this knowledge in your insightful questions and solutions. In this way you'll be giving them a reason to do business with you as opposed to someone else. Immersing yourself in what your potential customer needs can even result in your having the perfect lead-in for that first call, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
Carpe Diem My Friends!