Here’s a revelation about the sales process from our Director of Technology, followed by a few ideas on leveraging the power of rapport and becoming a valuable asset.
There Is No Magical One-Call Close. Prospects Must Go Through Their Buying Process
I remember a situation from years ago when I worked as an outside sales rep during the day and taught presentation programs in the evening.
I had just finished a sales call, closed the deal, gotten 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 by the box load, made dozens of phone calls, contacted the client numerous times, and still made no headway in moving the prospect 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 and relationship building. It can happen from another sales rep, your competition, some marketing material, or a whole lot of online research from the prospect. If you are meeting with a prospect for the first time and they buy, someone else did the heavy lifting to get their attention and spark their interest. And in this particular case, that person was Bob.
Becoming a Valuable Asset Begins With Achieving Rapport and Leaving a Favorable Impression.
I felt low. I liked 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 the heavy lifting of educating the customer.
So I approached Bob the next day and told him what had 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, spending time building rapport and educating them. And at the 11th hour, another sales rep swooped in behind me and closed 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 achieve rapport and leave a favorable impression with the 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 alternate solutions or quick fixes.
There Are No More Order-Takers. 3 Rapport Ideas to Making Yourself a Valuable Asset
Using rapport to becoming a valuable asset doesn’t have to be an exotic blend of special tactics. In our training and consultation sessions, we tie it to a process involving three simple ideas:
- Identify. Connect with your prospect as a person. Remember, people do business with people, not businesses.
- Understand Their Needs and Wants. 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, and ideas 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 your prospects and customers use it in your defense.
Ultimately, it comes down to your prospects and customers viewing you as a valued addition 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 they will ever need. So ask yourself, what value do you bring to the table that justifies your customers spending time with you?
But for now, simply jot down 5 activities that you do to get your customers and prospects to remember you as a valuable asset 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.
Want More Powerful Ideas on Opening Sales Calls?
Because the two are so similar, many of the ideas we use when opening a sales presentation are similar to those in opening sales calls. For additional ideas on getting your audience’s attention, from a single prospect to a room full of decision makers, download our digital publication, Basics of Dynamic Sales Presentations, here.