3 Tips To Help You Become Incredibly Interesting To Your Prospects
This post originally posted on Hubspot.com
For the longest time, sales were built on the idea that a rep would reach out to a prospect about a product they might (or might not) be interested in, and attempt to foster a deal through cold calling and high-pressure tactics. It was a process that was built on the potential customer having no initial information.
Now, your potential learners are on a different playing field. Through their own independent research, modern buyers tend to be more well-informed about your service before they ever speak to you. Today, effective sales processes are built on reaching out to prospective learners who have already expressed interest in a course, and helping to guide them along their decision-making journey.
The best training businesses now focus on developing and maintaining relationships, rather than pushing their courses, and this helps them sell smarter. Relationship-focused sales, significantly outperform traditional, transaction-focused techniques.
According to sales experts, becoming fascinating to your potential clients and buyers is extremely important. The way to do this, is to demonstrate your interest in them and what they do. In other words, to be interesting, you should be interested. Here are three tips to help you kick off this highly effective feedback loop.
1. Ask questions
Any good relationship starts with asking questions. But not just any old query will suffice. In order to really get to know your future learners, you have to ask the right questions.
To show your interest in a prospective customer, ask open-ended questions and be personal.
Here are some great starter questions you can ask your potential customer, that demonstrate your interest. Taylor these to your situation and that of your clients:
- Tell me about your goals for training and how you plan to achieve those goals?
- How can we best help you achieve these goals?
- Walk me through how successful training will enable you to reach your personal goals.
- What do you want our business relationship to look like?
- What made you decide to start this training right now?
- Is this solving a problem you’re facing across all, or some parts of your business?
- What’s your end goal for this training?
Just as important as the questions themselves, is the way in which you present them. To signify interest, use your prospect’s name throughout the conversation. Research has proven that a person’s name is an incredibly compelling word that can spark and sustain attention.
In addition, watch your tone. The goal is to come off as friendly and helpful. Keep your tone positive, to signal your interest and ability to help this person.
Finally, if you’re meeting in person, focus on your body language. Avoid actions like crossing your arms, or slouching. Instead, lean in to show focus; smile, and maintain good eye contact. All of these are small cues that can make your pitch dramatically more effective.
2. Listen to the answers
Just as important as asking questions, is actively listening to your prospect’s answers. Active listeners are perceived to be highly emotionally aware, and can make the people they speak to feel better about themselves. Asking astute follow-up questions that build on prospects’ answers, enables you to become more connected with your potential new clients.
But this is easier said than done, as humans tend to be naturally bad listeners.
To become a better active listener you have to practice. Here are a couple of ways you can practice:
Intentionally ask several open-ended questions next time you go to lunch with a coworker, and then try following up on each of their answers.
Also, practice letting them finish their thoughts, before you interject into the conversation. Interrupting can deter the flow of a conversation. By letting a person finish, you demonstrate your curiosity in what they have to say and your desire to hear their thoughts.
Here are some follow-up questions to use in your next sales call:
- Wow, that situation sounds intense. How are you dealing with it?
- What would you have done differently, with the perspective you have now?
- How can you see this type of training helping you fix your problem?
- Could you tell me more about that?
- Can you be more specific about X?
3. Follow their story.
Most companies now maintain websites, blogs, and/or social media accounts, and companies that are interested, keep tabs on these channels. Again, sales are built on relationships. If you know your prospect’s story, you can actively show your interest in them by dropping strategic bits of research and kicking off a conversation that makes them interested in you.
Here are a few ways to follow along:
Follow them on social media.
This is as simple as it gets. By following your prospect and their company on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll automatically get all the content they’re putting out into the world without ever having to look for it. Checking up on their story will simply become part of your day-to-day.
After you follow them, strike up a conversation. Send them a Facebook message or retweet something they posted on Twitter. This is an easy way for your name to become familiar to the people in the company, so when you reach out, they already know who you are and are primed to respond.
Subscribe to their newsletters.
By subscribing to the company’s newsletters, you’re getting an inside look at how the business is operating. What do you notice about the newsletter in terms of content, language, images, etc.? What news does it advertise? How often are they sending updates out? All of these details can inform your approach when you send your initial message.
Comment, like, share, engage.
Finally, once you’ve consumed the available content, start engaging. Comment on a blog post and ask a question. Offer counterpoints to what they’re saying can spark a debate. After all, the point of gathering information about your buyer is to prepare to start a relationship. And that relationship won’t begin until you reach out and start a discussion.
To be interesting, you need to be interested in your prospects. The old sales playbook dictates that sales reps should increase their appeal by bragging, inflating their self-importance, and sometimes, bending the truth. The new playbook holds that sales reps should demonstrate an interest in their buyers to truly connect with them, and eventually convert them into a customer.
About the author
Mike Renahan - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelrenahan/
Mike is a Customer Success Manager at HubSpot. He is a People person, data-driven, always learning and helping companies grow better.
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