1. Focus: Target more narrowly and more accurately
Hi there, take a look at this LinkedIn testimonial we received from one of our Finservices clients which outlines their exponential growth. Then I will tell you how it was achieved, and give you a cheat sheet to follow for yourselves.
“We engaged Total Potential because we were having difficulty closing on our opportunities. Tess did a wonderful job simplifying our service and in particular focusing on the real expertise our customers wanted. Tess was easy to work with but at same time directed us to be able to communicate clearly our value. Result was we successfully closed 75% of all opportunities instead of 10% prior to working with Total Potential. I would recommend Tess to any organisation who needs to simplify their message and be able to clearly articulate the must have benefits of engaging with you.” September 7, 2011
Top qualities: Great Results, Good Value, Creative
1st Joe Boyd –hired Tessa as a marketing in 2011, and hired Tessa more than once
- Optimise prospect list
- Disqualify prospects early- ready to buy?
- Check prospects able to buy
- Sell benefits
- Structure your offer professionally
1. Optimise your list of Prospects
I know its hard psychologically, but really, cut out the time wasters to maximise your ROI of time. Don’t do what most people do, i.e. making a random top of mind list and then calling them in the order that it came to your mind. Instead narrow your prospects down and rank them in descending order before you even pick up the phone, and certainly before you spend any face to face time.
Make sure each is a “high potential” target and in an area you want to grow aggressively. You will know this if you have set criteria for decision making and developed a balanced scorecard through which you filter your prospects.
For example, you might decide that high income professionals in fast growing B2B markets are your best prospect. Then do the foot work (or pay someone else to). It’s boring but it pays off at least ten fold.
2. Pre-Qualify or DisQualify Prospects to Better Ensure Their Readiness to Buy
As rapidly as possible, I would introduce high value new products that provide the type of added value that customers are prepared to pay more for. This will both grow the # dollars each buyer spends, as well as the % profitability. This becomes “New News” and the offerings increase the frequency of customers returning. Oh, and by the way, you will most likely need to do research among customers as to which of the various products or service ideas are most
- provide added value
- they are willing to pay more for.
For example, when I worked at Colgate Palmolive’s Innovation Centre in London, we introduced the Colgate Whitening Toothpaste, consumers were prepared to pay way more for the additional whitening benefit, but the cost had not increased anywhere near that. What additional benefits can you add or combine?
2.1 Ensure that the Prospect sees you as a Genuine Potential Service Provider
Do you always know upfront the real reason they called you in or agreed to see you?
If it’s because you impressed them on the phone, with your brochure, etc., then you are in with a good chance. If however, you are part of a tender process, and they already have a long standing incumbent they are happy with, are just they going through the motions because they must get three quotes? Perhaps someone told them to or they just don’t want Harry the Ad guy getting too complacent.
Our client had been meeting with anyone-people who had no intention of buying from our client the first place- people who were merely making a comparison between them and their original vendor of choice. These are things you want to find out early so you don’t break your back and fill all your time putting in a tender you are never going to win.
My Strategy: Find out early if they have a preferred supplier, or are in a tender process.
But how can you know? Ask around, do your due diligence, do your research on Linked in (or hire someone to do it). Speak to people that work there and find out major issues they have been facing or what they are looking for in a solution. Someone will let something slip.
2.2 Make sure the Prospect Knows they have a Genuine Need
They are more likely to have a genuine need if:
– the particular prospect clicked through and spent time researching your site.
If they have, they have qualified themselves as being clearly more interested and should be approached first.
But be careful, at this early stage, don’t waste your time talking about your ‘solution’ (your product, or service) if the prospect has not admitted out loud that they have a problem. Until they take this step they don’t even know they need you.
Now obviously he/ she is not going to sit there and start blubbing in front of a total stranger,
baring their soul for all to see. You will have to coax it out of them with some carefully crafted questions.
2.3.1 Ballpark the issues:
When you are starting out and not sure of the issue it can be helpful to say:
- “We find many clients experience…. (list likely issues being faced).”
You should know this from doing company and industry research prior to your meeting
2.3.2 Get more specific
Once you have an inkling of their specific problem the challenge is to get them to admit their issue. One way is to tell them a short case study or story about another client in the same industry, who was experiencing the likely problem and the resulting negative implications.
- “We helped him with that and he was able to ….. (positive result)”
- At this point, refer back to them: “Does that resonate with you, Mike? Have you experienced something similar?” Then let him talk!
2.4 Get the Prospect to Admit the need is Important AND Urgent on scale 1-10
If they don’t admit that their problem is a 9 to a 10 on importance to fix they probably wont sign no matter how good your solution. On the other hand, of it’s important but not urgent, they will not sign now but keep in touch because they will do something in the future and you want to be there when they do. So, how do you find out if it is important and urgent?
Strategies I suggest:
2.4.1 Once they have admitted they have a need (a problem), my suggestion (but then I am quite direct) is to ask them outright:
- What will happen if you don’t fix the problem?
- So, on a scale of 1-10, how important is it for you to fix that need?
- And how urgent is it for you (1-10 again)
2.4.2 Then reiterate what they have said:
So what you are saying is … is that right?
I always feed it back to them aloud, there and then. It gives them a chance to hear themselves think. Much more powerful than any talking you can do. It reinforces their views and also makes them feel like you have heard them loud and clear
3. Prospect is Able to Buy, AND Ready and Willing to Act
Makes sure that the person you are speaking with has the necessary authority or permissions to sign.
READY- they know what needs to be done, and are at the right stage to do it
WILLING-they personally want to do it
ABLE: They are capable or can hire the capability to get it done. They have the resources (time, $, people) to do it/ hire it
If not, you are talking with the wrong person. You need to find the right person and quick.
4. Sell Benefits Rather than Features
Talk about whats in it for them first (the benefits they will get), and only then tell them how you are going to achieve that (features).
Time is often wasted selling features (what you do, how you do it) when people buy benefits (what it does for/ gives them that they cannot get elsewhere). We do this because most of us are thinking about ourselves and what we do! Also, I suggest that you don’t sell just any benefits – sell end benefits. In other words, sell them on what happens if they DON’T buy you/ your service.
5. Structure and Rehearse What You Are Going to Say Professionally
If I were you, I would make sure that you are well prepared before you go into your meeting.
I always encourage my clients to rehearse aloud in front of a mirror or someone else until they are happy with the result. It makes the world of difference. I film them and get them to watch it and see all their little mannerisms and hesitations. They iron these out ahead of time. This sounds obvious but how many times do you wing it? Your call plan should be professionally structured and rehearsed long before you meet the client