Be Direct to Change Contacts to Contracts
George called today to defer a scheduled meeting for himself and his sales team.
“Why?” I asked.
“Remember,” he said “how I couldn’t understand why you were so adamant about sending handwritten thank you notes to the people we met at the trade show? Well, a key contact from one of those companies has called me now twice…and mentioned my note both times. I have to fly out, meet with him and his staff and do a capabilities presentation and so we have to delay.
Before we go, is there a last minute piece of advice you can give the team?”
I said, “Be definite.
1. Be definite about who you are and what you do. You need to know with complete certainty what your company can do for folks like this prospect. In a crunch, you need to be able to sum it up in 30 seconds or less in their terms.
If this is a big sale in terms of dollars or emotional content or both you need to spend the time to learn everything you can about them and why they’ve agreed to meet with you.
2. Be definite about their problem. Big sales solve big problems. The better you understand this one and how it impacts the prospect’s organization and budget, the more apt you are to be considered for the contract which will solve it.
Go one step further than simply gathering the data. Try to see it from the prospect’s viewpoint. What does this situation mean in terms of staff, output, budget, timing, any and everything that working with you may directly and indirectly impact.
3. Be definite about the implications. The more completely you demonstrate your understanding of the prospect’s real needs and the hidden factors that cause resource concerns the closer you will come to that contract.
Take more time with implications and ask more questions about them and you’ll walk in the footsteps of the most successful salespeople. Continuing studies show that the top performing high value salespeople all use this simple technique.
4. Be definite about the payoff the prospect sees. Listen to what is being said. Hear the meaning and the words. Comprehend their needs. Grasp their perceptions. Understand their view of the benefits your product or service offers. Their views are more persuasive to them than any you will ever be able to offer.
In conversation with the prospect take the strength of your product or service that you would normally tell the prospect about but instead of telling, ask three kinds of questions:
- Identify if the benefit can help the prospect
- Clarify the importance of the benefit to the prospect’s need
- Extend the prospect’s perception of the benefit.
5. Be definite about closing. Ask for the order. Do it at the end. Do it once and once only.
Thereis a growing body of evidence that asking for the order too early or too often (especially in high dollar or highly emotional sales) can demolish your chances. In one test, salespeople who did not attempt a close had more sales than those who tried three or four. A single close, properly done, is still the most powerful.
6. Be definite about next steps. Never leave a sales presentation without one of three things:
- A definite No
- A definite Yes
- A definite Plan
Too often, both professional salespeople or professionals that sell accept a delayor deferral or a “Come see me next time you’re in town” as a successful sales call.
A successful sales call leads to next steps that inexorably bring you closer to making the sale or getting the contract.
7. Be definite about following up. Send a handwritten thank you note. Call to confirm next steps. Immediately respond
with the data requested. Live up to your commitments. Get to trust.
That is the way you change contacts into contracts.
All sales begin in doubt. You must be definite to lead them to certainty.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.