7 easy ways to turn qualified leads into sales

bonfire

Don't let your sales efforts go up in smoke !

When you’ve been given a qualified lead, it’s your job to make sure the initial phone call doesn’t lead to a dead end. How to turn a qualified lead into a sale is one of the hardest hurdles in a salesperson’s job. Yet if you follow the simple rules below, your chances of success will increase significantly.

Be personable

Remember that the person on the other end of the phone hasn’t spoken to you before, and instinctively doesn’t trust you. If you jump in and immediately turn on the sales speak, the qualified lead may well just put the phone down on you. So let an element of chat enter the conversation. Take the time to show the person on the other end of the line that you are a human being as well as a salesperson.

Guide the conversation

Whilst you need to get personable, you don’t want to the conversation to turn to non-business topics. You may find you both love Nadel, but you need to steer the conversation towards how your product can help their business, not who won a recent tournament.

Don’t be aggressive

You have to keep the conversational tone light. Don’t start being aggressive. Not only will they end the call quickly, they may even make a complaint to your company. You will have lost the sale and possibly receive a reprimand.

Listen carefully

It may be that the qualified lead has been looking forward to your call. They could very well have already recognised that they need your service or product. When you call them, don’t just launch into your sales patter, listen carefully for signs that they are ready to buy. If you just plough through your script, you may put them off, so take it slowly, listen carefully, and be flexible enough to follow their lead.

Don’t make false claims

Remember that turning a qualified lead into a sale doesn’t give you the right to make up stats, claim your product or service can do something it can’t, or lie. You may be found out straight away and you’ll lose the sale there and then. Even if you do get to the point where you’ve made the sale, the customer will eventually find out and probably won’t order from you again.

Don’t be too pushy

This is a little like aggression, but probably wont get you in as much trouble at work, but might lose you the sale. A potential customer knows you are on the phone to make a sale, and they’ve agreed to the call so are willing to listen to what you’re offering. But they don’t want to feel that you are forcing them to buy something they may not need. Assess their needs honestly. If they really don’t need what you’re selling today and you are honest, they will have more respect for you. Push beyond the point where they feel comfortable and you will lose out.

Ask lots of questions

Make the effort to really get to know the person’s business and what they need. This is a two way street. You will benefit from really knowing how their company works, what their problems are and how you can help. They get the reassurance that you are genuinely interested and not just after a quick sale regardless of their needs.

Remember, a qualified lead can become a sale, but only if you don’t scare them off in the short time you have on the phone to them. Be responsive, respectful and listen carefully to what they are saying.

Being a great salesperson means remembering that some of your best sales don’t come from new clients, but from established ones. They’re the ones who have already bought into your product before and they are more likely to buy into it again.

It pays dividends to keep in touch !

Keep in touch

In the race to get new business it’s easy to forget old contacts and business customers. But a really good salesperson knows not to do that. Keep track of when you meet clients and what they are doing. If there is a conference coming up, that’s the perfect time to get in touch with old clients and see if they are going. If they are, arrange to meet up. Talking in a social setting is a more relaxed way to remind your old customers that your business is still there for them

Cross-sell

When talking to customers keep your ear open for opportunities to cross sell products. Depending on the setting, you may want to set up another, more business orientated meeting to discuss what else you company has that will help the customer.

Analyse your customer base

The vast majority of your business will come from a small number of clients. Sitting down and identifying those clients is essential. Knowing which clients order more of your product or service, than any other, means you can specifically target them first when offering a new product.

Plan

As in everything, planning is the key ingredient to being successful. Give yourself some time to sit down and go through what you want to achieve in the next 12-month period. You can break this down into how to leverage the relationships you have with current customers and what you can do to create new customers. Using the information you’ve gathered from looking at the most lucrative customers, you’ll know how to offer them a better service. You may also see how that relationship developed from a cold start to being profitable. Once you know how it was done once, you can look at ways of replicating it with another potential customer.

Perfect your presentation

It’s pointless trying to shy away from it – every salesperson has to a sales pitch or presentation at some point. Which is why you need to make it as perfect as possible. Remember a sales presentation is your chance to show customers and potential customers how your product will add real benefit to their business. Don’t go overboard with words like ‘exciting’, ‘wonderful’, ‘innovative’. Instead focus on why you think it’s all these things. Remember to always show the benefits of your products and how they will make life better for your customer. This approach is more valid, and the customer can identify more easily with it.

Stretch yourself

If you have mastered the art of keeping in touch with old customers, you may well feel quite comfortable without having to go out and find new business. But, as the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t rely on a small number of customers to keep you business going. Calling a new lead can be daunting, but done right it will produce new business – you never know, one of those may well become the best customer you’ve ever had.

Being a successful sales person in Dubai is no different from a sales role in London, New York or Mumbai. You have to have work on your current customer list and take the time to find new customers periodically.

Your pitch is going to win or lose you a sale. So you have to make sure that when you walk into a meeting in downtown Dubai your sales pitch is perfect. But there are ways of pitching well and ways of doing it that will turn off your prospect.

Don’t Over Prepare

burj dubai

Just before you enter a meeting is not the time to prepare your sales pitch....even if you are taking the elevator in the Burj Khalifa !

Yes, you need to know your script so well that you could reel if off in your sleep. But if you take that into a meeting, you’ll put people off for several reasons. First of all, there is no room in a perfect pitch to listen to your customer. They sit there silently and while you do all the talking.

It’s boring sitting around for half an hour listening to someone talk. So give the client plenty of opportunity to talk about their needs.

Give a Time Constraint

Again, don’t bore your customer. Give a strict time to present to them and, just as importantly, leave a definite amount of time for questions and answers. Tell them at the outset of the meeting how long you have to will take to give an outline of how you think your product could develop their business.

A timed meeting not only keeps everyone on track, it also gives the impression that you have somewhere to be afterwards. This nicely leads to the next point:

The Client is King

Yes, you need to ensure the client knows that this pitch is all about them, and all about how it’s going to make their life better. But at the same time, you are selling yourself as well as the product; so don’t fall into the trap of agreeing with everything they say. You have to come across as the expert, the one they want to see again. You can’t put yourself into too weak a position or they will lose confidence in you, and then lose confidence in what you are presenting.

Papering over the Cracks

If there is some bad news in the pitch, such as the numbers not adding up to the customer’s preferred price bracket, don’t fluff it. Make sure you know the numbers, and more importantly, know how to overcome any objections that might arise from this. People don’t like the wool being pulled over their eyes and if they spot something doesn’t add up, they won’t thank you for pretending it does.

Even worse, if you do seal the deal and later down the line the customer finds it’s costing them more than you said it would, you’ll lose respect, and maybe lose future sales.

Death by PowerPoint

Don’t overload your customers with a huge range of data, statistics, graphs and projected earnings. You need to keep your prospect interested and connected while you are presenting to them. You’ll see their eyes glaze over if you just give them a huge about information. Get them involved on an emotional level instead; show them how your product is going to make their life better.

So next time you are preparing to present to your most important Dubai client, find out all you can about their business and how your product or service is going to make their life better. And then put that into the context of a pitch that doesn’t kill the deal half way through the meeting.

ruthbadger

The Badger...do you have her sales skills?

We all know there are born sales people. You will have seen them in your offices: the ones who can sell the benefits of their product and get huge commitments from you in Dubai without breaking a sweat. But don’t worry, you can learn good sales techniques: the innate salesperson just learned their craft a little earlier than you. Here are five simple ways in which will help you straight away.

Stay Calm

There comes a point in all sales pitches where the tension begins to mount, but the more experienced sales person doesn’t let this show. Some sales situations are more stressful than others, such as negotiations worth hundreds of thousands. But during this process a seasoned salesperson is able to calmly deal with any last minute prevarications from the client without losing their cool.

Ditch the Script

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a sales call where we can almost see the script that is in front of the telesales person. Transfer this feeling into a face-to-face conversation and you can easily see why working to a script doesn’t convert to sales. Easy, confident language is key. Whilst the script is in your head, try to talk in a more relaxed style that bring across the good points of the product.

Be Straight Up

Or rather, don’t tell lies. Although the best salesperson can sell just about anything, you’re not going to create goodwill if you sell a product which the client quickly finds out doesn’t do everything you said it does. When selling a product keep to what it really can do, rather than trying to sell it on benefits it doesn’t have. And if you don’t personally like the product, be honest: the product may be exactly what the client wants, and the fact you are honest in your opinion encourages them to believe everything else you say about it.

Be a Professional

Emulation has always been considered a good sales tactic. However, this only goes so far, there has to be a stopping point where you retain your own level of professionalism. If your client appears to be a very relaxed surf dude don’t try and pretend to be on the same wavelength – whiff of insincerity is enough to put off a potential customer. Better to be your own person and copy subtly, than to make a fool of yourself.

Mind Your Manners

Being rude gets you nowhere in the business of sales. And in the current economic climate, it is even more important to remember that being pleasant during negotiations is paramount. Remember, if the client is having difficulty committing, it’s your job to show them how your product or service will be a real

As with everything in business, there is always something new to learn. Next time you have the opportunity, watch your best salesperson and take mental notes on how she creates the right atmosphere to close the sale. Don’t stop there either – keep your eyes and ears open when out and about in Dubai, it’s a tough sales environment and you will come across a continuum of  sales skills which you can reflect on.

 

There is a lot to be learned from watching The Apprentice, particularly for improving your sales skills and tactics in Dubai. The contestants are high flyers in their fields pitting themselves against each other to win the prize of £250,000 investment in a new venture.

Now these individuals own their businesses, run financial departments, are risk managers for blue chip companies, and yet…

When it comes to the sales tasks, the failure rate is incredibly high and makes for riveting viewing.

So why do they give TV ratings gold with their poor sales tactics? Well, the majority of mistakes can be put down to these five points.

1 – They Panic

The greatest mistake anyone can make when approaching a prospect is to panic. You should be prepared, and before you go anywhere near the prospect, you need to know exactly what you are selling and why that person would want to buy it off you. You need to have practice runs with your sales team so they have a memorised the script to the point where they can talk the benefits of a product naturally.

2 – Resorting to the Boiler Room

boiler room

Would boiler room tactics work on you?

The Apprentice is a high-pressure sales environment and the temptation is to resort to Boiler Room Tactics; which is never a good idea. Making a prospect feel uncomfortable and pressured is a major turn off. Boiler room tactics have a justifiably bad reputation and if you find yourself, or see a member of the sales team, starting to use these tactics, you know the sale is already lost.

3 – Poor Preparation

Because The Apprentice contestants have less than a day to design a product and put it to market, they often don’t prepare adequately and are selling a product they know very little about. One of the most stunning cases of this was when the Series 7 teams were asked to create a concept magazine. Without finding out the current state of the magazine market, the teams created a lads mag and a magazine aimed at the over 60 market. One was highly offensive and the other condescending. When they tried to sell the magazines to publishers, the response was cringe worthy. In the real world, your sales team often has no input into product creation, but you can make sure they know everything about it before they hit the streets.

4 – No Clear Leader

Without a designated leader, your Dubai sales team will fail because they do not know what they are supposed to be doing and start making it up as they go along. There is only one person who disproves this theory in any series of The Apprentice UK, the Irish salesman, Jim Eastwood. Because he is a natural, he can sell just about anything to anyone. However, born salespeople like him are few and far between, and so a designated leader will help steer your sales team to success.

5 – Bad local knowledge

One of the best examples of failed tasks on The Apprentice is the lack of local knowledge. Not knowing where the best place to sell your product means your sales team can work their socks off without making a single sale. If you are launching a new range of frozen yoghurt, which end of the Mall of the Emirates is going to be a prime spot? Or should you be down on the Walk in JBR? Find the sweet spot so your sales team in Dubai can hit their targets.

If you don’t have access to the latest series of The Apprentice, search for ‘The Apprentice UK’ on YouTube.com where you’ll find the best clips from previous series.

Despite local differences in etiquette, it doesn’t matter if  you want to improve your sales skills in Dubai, London, or Singapore there are four main elements that will improve your sales technique.

1. Be the Adult in the Room

The successful salesperson knows that when they sit down to talk to a client about a product or service, they are the expert in the room on that product or service.

Your customer may have researched you and called you into a meeting, they may know a lot about the different kinds of products available in your industry, but essentially it is you, the company salesperson who knows most about your company’s offering. And if you don’t, you shouldn’t be in the meeting in the first place.

By understanding that you are the most knowledgeable person on your service, you can talk with confidence and be able to show why it’s the right fit for the customer.

2. You are there to sell a product, not make a friend

Getting too close and personal with people in business is not what makes a great salesperson. That doesn’t mean you are have to be cold and impersonal, it means you have to remember the difference between making a friend and making a sale.

3. Ditch the Ego

Johnny Bravo

An over-sized ego could land you in hot water!

Too much bravado, over-confidence or excessive ostentation from you will be off-putting to potential customers. When you walk into a meeting there will be plenty of egos in there already, you don’t need to add yours to the mix. By turning down the volume on you the salesperson, you allow your product or service to get a greater slice of the attention, so it becomes the star of the show.

That doesn’t mean you forget the first point of being the adult in the room: you know your product and you know how it will benefit the customer.

4. Question, then Listen and Watch

One of the big mistakes a salesperson can make is to do all the talking. Firstly, many people think they’ve told you everything about themselves or their business, but every successful salesperson knows that very often the customer hasn’t told the whole story. By asking questions you learn a lot more about what the company needs from your product.

You may think that you have a good idea of how the company can use your products, but by asking the right questions and listening to their answers, by the end of the conversation you will learn what they really need.

Not only does listening to what people say, and watching their body language, give you a better understanding of how you can help that company with your services, it also shows that you have a real interest in their business. That interest will earn you, the salesperson, more respect from the room, and as a consequence you’ve just added a level of respect for your product.

To learn more about how you can really improve your sales technique, the Institute of Sales and Marketing offer professional level courses for successful sales skills in Dubai. Find out more and book a place today http://18.130.2.180/

 

 

Sources:

http://18.130.2.180

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/06/the_seven_personality_traits_o.html

At ISM Dubai, a course we often run in-house and cover during our selling skills course, is looking at a sale or negotiation from the buying perspective. This holistic approach needs to be understood by sales people  to  help drive their own success. In this three part blog Bill Levell will cover  buyer views comprehensively.

Buyers perspective

Bill , master of sales skills enjoying a quiet moment between activities

From the buyer’s perspective engaging with a potential supplier calls for detailed information gathering through whatever means are appropriate.

There are several key areas to explore in depth through desk research, asking questions and holding discussions to assess suppliers and their proposals in all relevant areas.
Here are some examples of these areas, not all are always essential, and there will be others which I have not listed which are industry/technology specific.

  1. Capability

Does the supplier’s staff have the skills and experience, including specialised technical knowledge that they will need to meet the requirement?

  1. Experience and track record

Past experience should be examined in sufficient detail to give confidence that the supplier has the right ability. This may include visits to customers of the supplier or to the supplier’s premises. The principal objective is to assess how much of the supplier’s experience is relevant to the buyer’s requirements and how they can back up their responses with evidence that they have provided similar solutions before. Questions like:

  1. Has the supplier fulfilled requirements of a similar type, scale and/or complexity before? If they have, was their performance satisfactory?
  2. What problems arose, and how will they be avoided on this contract?
  3. How well does the supplier’s experience and track record back up their proposal?
  4. What evidence is there of the supplier adding value by adopting proactive approaches, making improvements, building strong working relationships and so on?
  5. Can the supplier demonstrate a spirit of co-operation in their past or present customer relationships?
  6. What is the supplier’s track record on team-working, relationship management and/or partnering? What evidence can be sought supporting their proposals on working together?

3. Capacity

It is important to validate the totality of the declared resource skills against overall supplier resources.
If the supplier has high reliance on one major customer, this may present a risk to the project. This does not necessarily mean that the supplier must be rejected out of hand, but the risk should be analysed, considered and managed like other project risks. Questions like:

  1. Does the supplier have adequate capacity and resource for the requirement, both now and in the future?
  2.  How many experienced staff does the supplier have working in relevant areas?
  3. What other contracts does the supplier currently have running that could affect capacity?
  4. What other contracts is the supplier bidding for? If they won them, would this affect capacity available for this requirement?
  5. Does the supplier give sufficient consideration to ensure that there is sufficient flexibility to adapt to changing business needs?
  6. Can the supplier demonstrate that it has the necessary resource forecasting experience and perhaps models for capacity planning purposes?
  7. Is there evidence that SLA requirements are used to define availability plans and targets?
  8. Does the supplier monitor actual performance against availability targets?
  9. Does the supplier have adequate methods and procedures for monitoring service capacity and tuning systems performance?

 

The next two parts to this comprehensive look at the Buyer’s perspective will be published in the next fortnight and if you have any thoughts on what else should be included please let us know.