What do you do after you have booked a customer meeting until the day of the meeting? A while ago I read an article, by the Finnish sales coaches Micah D. Rubanovitsch and Tero Nieminen, about what each seles person should do between a booked meeting and the meeting itself.
They mean that the dialogue between you the customer must start way before the first meeting. The article gives an example of a salesperson who had booked a meeting with the authors. Two weeks after they have booked the meeting, they still hadn’t heard from the salesperson. The meeting was just around the corner and not a word. What could the salesperson have done instead? What would YOU have done?
Start the customer’s buying process
A booked meeting is the start of the sales process, you know that the customer is interested and you have their attention. You’ve kicked off your sales process, but have you started the customer’s buying process?
Take this opportunity to gather all the information you might need, without taking too much time of the customer. Keep it simple and send over some questions about the customer’s needs and current situation by e-mail. This way, you get the customer to start thinking, and they will feel that you are committed. The answers will give you the opportunity be really well prepared and hold a great meeting.
In addition to asking questions, share some information about yourself, your skills, your business and what products you offer. Maybe send a movie, a presentation or just a link to your website. Sometimes it may also be good to talk about references at an early stage. Again, before the meeting.
You have a head start – get your best customer meeting ever!
By both sharing and collecting information before the meeting, you’ve gotten yourself several major advantages. You can now come to the meeting and:
Already have started the customers’ buying process
Know the customers’ needs and current situation
Know that the customer knows you and what benefits your products have
Know that the customer already knows about your satisfied customers
Since you’ve already started the customer’s buying process before the meeting, you can leave the meeting and come much further than your competitors. The goal is to not end up in a situation where the customers asks “can you send me some more information?” or says “I will get back to you if I have any questions”. Already at the meeting, you should be able to book the next step. Remember: never end a meeting (even if it’s a phone meeting) without deciding the next step. It is the best way for you to continue to push forward in the customers buying process.
So, go out and start the buying process for the meetings you already have booked, before your competitors get ahead of you. Good luck!
Yes – you heard me! In a lecture with Charlie Söderberg, economist and wealth coach, I got an eye-opener that I wish I had been given before. He described a phenomenon he calls Chanterelle. Have you ever picked chantarells in the woods? If you have, you know what process that you have to go through! Immediately when you step out of the car and put on those rubber boots you set your brain on those little yellow things in the ground that may be chanterelles. It takes a big focus and after a while you can spot a chanterelles miles away. Why is that? You would probably not have seen these chantarells if you were not explicitly looking for them.
The same principle applies when you book a trip to an unusual destination, and all of a sudden you hear about others who have just been there and publicity about the destination begin to appear. Strange coincidense, one might think! But it’s not that strange – you have set your mind on a specific event or goal, and therefore it records everything that has to do with it. What is the opposite? Well, you might run into lots of chantarells when you’re out walking your dog without even knowing it.
The same principle can be translated to the life as a salesrep. Without knowing what you seek, you will never be able to find it. If you do not know where you’re going, it doesn’t even matter which path you take. Imagine chanterelles being the symbol of a customers buying signals, if you are not looking for them your customers or prospects could give you how many hints whatsoever without you realizing that you are about to step into a hot business opportunity.
Since I am responsible for my own prospecting, a can chanterelle for me could be to find attractive companies that I have never been in contact with – when I focus my eyes along the highway on the way to a meeting, all these companies logos appear as chantarells along the roadside. Another chantarell that I have to keep my eyes on is customer needs. If I’m not looking for my clients’ needs, I will never be able to offer them a CRM system that give them the added value they’re looking for.
The Chanterelle method is based one important component – focus. No one would ever make an important investment through a salesrep who lacks just that, would you? So how can you apply this in your day to day life as a sales person?
1. Put on your chanterelle glasses
2. Think about where you are today and where you are heading
3. Set up guidelines for what to look for, and start looking!
Life as a salesperson can sometimes be tough. The constant fight over the same customers, whom starts to get tired of taking your calls. And sometimes when you feel down, you may need some inspiration!
In a blog post on the blog Thank You For Selling, they highlights the 50 best salespeople of all time. I get very inspired to see that regardless of who you are and what you come from, you can, with willpower, get exactly where you want be. We’ve chosen to highlight the top 10 below. We hope you can find someone who inspires you to become a little bit better on sales.
1. Alfred Fuller Also known as the “Fuller Brush Man” for his household brush that became famous in the 1900s. Instead of just selling the product he asked his clients for comments on the brush, to be able create a brush that he knew would attract the market. His company sold for $ 8,500 the first year, which today would be approximately $ 244,000 (2.2 million SEK).
2. Anneke seley Sales guru who does not keep her knowledge all to herself. World famous for her book “Sales 2.0 technique“. She inspires up-and-coming business to reach higher for their goals.
3. Ben Feldman Former world record holder for selling the most products in a year (worth 800 million SEK). During his sales career from 1942 until his death in 1993, he sold insurance for New York Life, worth $ 1 800 00 00 (15 329 880 000 SEK).
4. BR Shetty Bavaguthu Raghuram or BR Shetty left India and came to Abu Dhabi more than 40 years ago. His career started as a door-to-door medical sales representative. Today it has grown into a private health care company, NMC Healthcare, who treats up to 5,000 patients each day.
5. Barry Maher Canon, Hewlett-Packard, McDonald’s, Wells Fargo and Verzion, are just some of the clients in Machers impressive portfolio. Maher began his career as a salesman and is now one of the world’s most respected sales and business speakers.
6. Bella Weems “Earn it” – That was the answer that Bella got from her parents when she, 14 years old asked if she could get a car when she turned 16. She then got the idea of starting a company that sold customizable lockets, and now, four years later, the company has grown to be a multi-million company with over 300 employees and 60 000 distributors.
7. Benjamin Franklin While history books portray him as an inventor, we know that he was also an extraordinary seller at young age. At 12, he served as an apprentice to his uncle who was a printer. After helping his uncle compose pamphlets he sold them on the streets.
8. Bob Urichuck His enthusiasm and humility makes him a favorite when it comes to speakers of business. Urichuck has been invited to speak in more than 1,500 cities in more than 45 countries. He has also written many books such as “Motivate your team in 30 days” and “Velocity Selling: How to Attract, Engage, and Empower Buyers to Buy.”
9. Brian Tracy He might be an expert in real estate, but he also uses his knowledge to encourage other people to be competitive when it comes to sales. Tracy has written 55 books translated into 42 languages. He also conducts seminars and workshops where he talks about his sales strategies. If you, like me, like to be inspired every day, I can recommend his Facebook page.
10. Colleen Stanley With her understanding of the importance of emotions in selling, she managed to increase sales of the company Varsity from $ 8 million (68 million SEK) to an impressive $ 90 million over a 10-year period. Author of the book “Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success”.
Are you more curious about any of the above? Google it! There is a lot of information written about them. Are you eager to read further in the list and see who the other 40 people are? Read more here!
Sports and athletes have been compared to sales for ages. No wonder! Professional athletes work daily with success, setbacks, perseverance and determination. They always try to achieve a higher level of knowledge and skill. Of course it is risky to generalize, but personally, I have received an enormous boost in motivation by doing this comparison between sports and sales.
Professional athletes are not born, they are made! What combines professional athletes is the tremendous work ethics that they put into being the best in what they do.
What does it take to score goals in Sales?
Let me take an example from my favourite sport: Football. Some of the biggest athletes in this game are Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Lionel Messi. What is the combining factor for all of these athletes? They love to score goals. They want to put every drop of sweat and tears in to being the best goal scorer. Haunting them in the back of their mind, there is always a younger and hungrier player behind them that would want to take their place.
Scoring goals for a professional athlete could be compared to signing a new agreement for a sales representative. I believe that is what we sales people thrive to and what gives us the feeling of succeeding in our work.
For a football player, to be able to score a goal, he needs to be in the starting eleven and play in a game.
In a sales perspective this would probably mean that we need to meet our customers. We need to be able to exchange thoughts with the customer to get a good solution in hopes of an agreement.
Making it in to the starting eleven is key
How does a professional football player make it to the starting eleven? How is he chosen when there are so many others in line willing to take his place? He keeps on training! He goes all in at every training session to achieve a higher level than his competition.
In a sales representative’s world, I would say that this means prospecting. Cold calling, one’s own processing, inbound leads, references. Whatever it takes to make it to that meeting.
Training is not always fun… So keep the dream alive!
Let’s be honest. Training is not always fun. Nothing comes free and sometimes you feel like quitting. Remember that when you train, it is a lot more likely that you will be chosen to play in the game and eventually score that beautiful overhead kick that will be watched on YouTube for millions of times.
“When I was able to get down the road a ways and look back, I realized success is 90% perseverance. The key is to stay in the game.”
Working in sales is fantastic, but it can also be hectic. We want to get things done, fast! We run between meetings and have to face the challenges we encounter along the way to closing more deals.
We interact with many people every day, people who have different roles in different contexts. We build customer relations, relationships that is based on trust.
But first, to even get the opportunity to start building a relationship with a potential customer it require that you have the other party’s attention that they actually want to hear what you have to offer. How receptive the counterpart is of your message is based on whether they like you or not, which they quickly decide! Often within a few minutes after they met you the first time.
People in general are very skilled at placing other people in different folders based on their first impression, whether we like it or not. We are full of prejudices and would have a hard time taking on everyday tasks without them. When we see a chair, we assume that you can sit on it. The same is true when we meet new people, ah, he is one of those, she’s such a …
Therefore it’s important that you make a good first impression! Make it easy for others to like you and be sure that you end up in the right folder!
Prepare for the meeting
Be on time
Be the expert that you are expected to be
Remember, you present yourself the minute you step in to the room or out of your car, not necessarily when you shake hands.
If you have read Fredrik Eklund’s book “Sell”, you have surely seen the tips that sounds; “Do not eat lunch with your colleagues”, “do not waste your precious sales time”. I like my colleagues and I like food and therefore I’m constantly looking for ways to streamline my sales and optimize my time. When I find a way or tools that helps me I want to share that with you.
A while ago I ran into a tool called GetAccept, developed by a Swedish company. It saves me time, gives me new insights about the on-going deals and accelerates the closing process. How? In three simple steps:
1. Track if the customer opened my “before-the-meeting” presentation
After I have booked a meeting for presentation with one of our CRM system I always send the prospect a presentation. This is a perfect reason to ask for contact details of those who will participate in the meeting.
I send the presentation to everyone with GetAccept and get instant feedback on whether they read it, where in the document they spend their time and perhaps most importantly: who have not opened it at all. Prior entering the meeting, I know which parts I should focus the most on and which participant I should focus most of my time on.
2. Have all viewed the the quotation? I.e. the deal is hot or not?
The meeting often end up in sending an quotation, which includes everything from the introduction of the CRM system to pricing. By using GetAccept I know if they read it and what´s important for them. If they don’t open the document the platform GetAccept send out automatic reminders, and I save time by not chasing the customer every day.
If the offer is not opened, despite reminders, I get a notification from the tool telling me that I must act. Is the deal really as hot as I thought or will it end up in the Valley of Death?
With all these insights I have managed to have very good timing in my follow-up calls. As an example, I have managed to call the prospect just before having the decision meeting what CRM system to choose. I get the opportunity to go through the quote and answer questions ensuring that my offer will be top-of-mind for that decision meeting.
3. A smooth and quick sign of – for all parties
The tool includes e-signing. No more waiting for physical documents. The customer can simply sign directly from their laptop or smart phone, whether sitting in Russia or in Smygehuk*. And as we all sales reps know – the faster you get to the signing, the less risk that the deal takes a new direction…
I am constantly looking for tools that can streamline and simplify my day helping me sell more. After testing out GetAccept I close more deals with less spent time, which means that I have time left to eat a nice lunch with my fellow colleagues. My tip to you, give GetAccept a spin (free trial). I will keep looking for more smart sales tools and when I find a new one I will let you know!