There Is No One-Call Close. We All Contribute.
Here’s a revelation about the sales process from our Director of Technology followed by a few ideas on hacking the sales process and becoming a trusted advisor.
I remember a situation from when I worked as an outside sales rep during the day and taught presentation and communication programs in the evening.
I had just finished a sales call, closed the deal, got the order, and I was ecstatic. The lead coordinator told me that this lead was hot and he was right.
When I got back to the office, I began entering the information into our CRM system. At that time, we were using individual copies of ACT synchronized to a central database. Seems like Stone Age technology compared to how we coordinate our sales and marketing activities today with SalesForce and Hubspot.
Upon synchronizing my activities in ACT, not only did I find another record for this customer, but discovered that a fellow sales rep, Bob, had been working with them. He had sent out literature, made phone calls, contacted the client numerous times, and made no headway in moving them through the sales process.
Yet, on this day, I had walked in, met the customer once, and closed the deal.
I’ve never been a believer in the “one call close”. No one walks in a new account cold and sells the management team on the first day. In those instances, there’s always some unseen prep work from either another sales rep, the competition, some marketing material, or some research on the part of the prospect. If you are meeting with a prospect for the first time and they buy, someone else did the heavy lifting. And in this particular case, Bob had done the prep work on this prospect.
The Secret to Being a Trusted Advisor – Leave a Favorable Impression.
I felt low. I like Bob. He’s a stand-up guy. The last thing I wanted to do was sneak in behind him and grab the sale after he did all of the heavy lifting of educating the customer.
So I approached Bob the next day and told him what happened.
His comment was “That’s alright. If they couldn’t remember me after all the time I’ve spent with them, then I wasn’t effective in making a lasting impression and I don’t deserve the business.”
Over the past few years I’ve often thought about that situation. I can remember similar sales calls where I did all of the heavy lifting with a prospect only to have another sales rep come in behind me and close the sale.
It didn’t feel good.
Still, I think of Bob’s statement and his attitude often:
If I don’t do enough to leave a favorable impression on the customer or prospect, then I don’t deserve the business.
Of course I’ve had those other conversations with clients that sounded like this:
“Yeah, we got a call from someone in your company yesterday, but we told them that we had a rep from your company taking care of us.”
Now if the client said that to another rep in my company, I can imagine what they said to a competitor trying to bring in “quick fixes” and “alternate solutions”.
The Days of the Order-Taker are Gone. 3 Ideas to Becoming a Trusted Advisor
Being a trusted advisor doesn’t have to be an exotic concoction of behavioral strategies and special tactics. In our training and consultation sessions, we tie it to a process involving three simple ideas:
- Rapport. Connect with your prospect as a person. Remember, people do business with people, not businesses.
- Understand needs, wants, and desires. In order to understand what they want, you need to get out of your head. Selling is an away game. It happens in the customer’s mind.
- Credibility. Bring to bear your unique insights, ideas, and beliefs as they relate to the client’s situation.
Three simple ideas to having your customers telling your competition, “We already have a rep taking care of our needs”. You don’t like it when you hear a lead say that phrase to you. But it sure helps you sleep at night when they use it in your defense.
Ultimately, it comes down to your prospects and customers seeing you as a trusted advisor to their business model.
In this Internet age, your customers and prospects can buy anything they want online with no hassles at all. And they have access to all of the information, recommendations, and social referrals that they will ever need. So ask yourself, what value do you, the sales rep, bring to the table that justifies your customers spending time with you?
In the coming weeks, we’ll be reviewing some straightforward tactics that you can use to turn yourself into your prospects most valuable resource.
But for now, simply jot down 5 activities that you do to get your customers and prospects to remember you as a valuable resource when you aren’t there with them. Because I can guarantee you, your competition is actively looking for ways to unseat you.
Don’t make it easy for them.