Generating new leads is not all about how many cold calls you make or the number of decision makers you connect with, it is ultimately a matter of building credibility, authority and earning trust. Each time your sales and marketing team speaks to a lead, they are given the opportunity to build trust. The goal is to put the prospect at ease, spark an interest and make them want to hear more.
These days, most consumers are overwhelmed with all of life’s responsibilities. They have too much on the calendar, not enough time and too many aggressive businesses trying to get their attention. Your team needs to emerge higher than the competition by building your prospect’s trust fast and most effectively.
By staying clear of the traditional sales pitch pitfalls and giving potential leads a reason to stop and listen, you will be given the chance to build the stronger relationships that lead to sales conversions and substantial profits.
Build trust and authority with your sales prospects by using these few steps:
Do Preliminary Research
It is common for sales reps to begin making calls without first doing the necessary homework. Reaching out without knowing anything about potential prospects, you are wasting a lot of valuable time, you will be like a bird flying blind. Prior to picking up the phone, know the people you are calling, and understand why you chose this target audience. The simplest way to build trust is to show your leads that they are not just a number on a calling list. Demonstrate that you know something about them and that you have a definitive reason for reaching out to them.
Ask Smart Questions
Avoid the classic error of quickly catapulting off into a scripted sales pitch that instantly makes the prospect’s eyes roll. Instead, create and ask compelling questions that evoke a thoughtful response. Be sure to uncover customer pain points. Try to better understand the impact those issues are having on the business. Instead of telling a prospect what you can do for them or how well you can boost productivity, start by asking an open-ended question, like, “What is the toughest challenge you face every day?”
Listen and Understand Your Buyer’s Needs
Sales people tend to steer the conversation in one direction. When the prospect responds negatively there is nowhere left to go and the call is over. A better way is to figure out how to decipher hidden opportunities, read between the lines instead of getting shut down. More talented and experienced sales people understand how to do this effectively. A prospect will rarely come out and tell you exactly what they need and what they are willing to pay. It is up to you to uncover their needs by paying close attention to the conversation with careful listening. Delve deep to clearly determine what your prospect is indirectly trying to disclose.
Help Your Prospect See the Bigger Picture
Prospects are likely to have a long list of needs, and they want personalized solutions. It is your job to help them resolve each problem. Convey how your products or services will simplify their lives. Explain how you can make each problem better. Establish trust by showing how your solution will positively impact their business by added value. Be sure to articulate how your solutions will tie in directly with their big picture. If your prospect doesn’t see how it fits in with their business needs, your products or services won’t appear to be what they need and they will likely move on.
Never forget, as the designated salesperson, you are most likely delegated to the one you will connect with best. Address big business issues, and you may be sent to meet with those higher-ups with access to more funds to cover your solution. If you can’t reach the top decision makers immediately, you can demonstrate to your initial contact how just a single purchase can influence a timely business issue. You will establish trust because you will be serving your prospect and help to address a pressing business challenge.
Each time you communicate with a customer or a lead, that conversation should be viewed as an opportunity to show how much you care about their needs and challenges. Always keep in mind, you want customers to see you as credible and trustworthy. Never breeze through scripted lines asking for a sale. The brightest and most credible salespeople continuously offer value without pushing a purchase. Would you consider offering prospects valuable information or tips on industry trends? Would you share a webinar or a white paper? Do you have any success stories or testimonials worth sharing? These are all small steps toward building trusting relationships that are likely to lead to a sale.
Don’t Push the Sale
Being overeager is an all too common sales mistake. Reps also have a bad habit of getting discouraged when a lead shows no interest. They let long-term prospects evaporate without any follow-up. They stop putting in any effort. Leads must be managed and nurtured over a long stretch of time. This can possibly take years, depending on how your sales cycle operates.
The most efficient way to build trust and authority is the show sales prospects that you are not going to give up on them. Let leads know you are willing to put in the hard work to develop a strong, trusting relationship with them over the long haul. You are not going to pounce down on every lead and push for a sale.
The most profitable business relationships develop over time, through continuous nurturing, investment of resources, and of course, trust building. These bonds are so elusive and valuable because they are harder to attain. They are not quick, simple sales. Each long-term sales relationship has the potential to produce ample profits for your business. Therefore, it is worth taking the time and putting the attention into building a strong, trusting relationship with your prospects.