Did you know that people who schedule fewer tasks accomplish more than people who cram their calendars full of tasks and meetings? Less is more, yet many salespeople continue to cram every prospect interaction with a million different sales techniques in the vain hope that something will stick.
Sales teams constantly waste time on prospects who don’t have enough interest or budget, then wonder where they went wrong. On top of that, some teams aren't sure how to measure their success. It’s time to ditch the shotgun approach and focus on the limited number of unique sales tactics that actually lead to conversions.
Help your sales team close more deals with less effort by leveraging these unique strategies:
1. Let the Prospect Do the Legwork
Salespeople love to get in front of prospects as quickly as possible to start conversations. However, modern buyers don’t want to talk to reps until they’re almost ready to buy. Rather than push the issue, sales teams should spend less time convincing top-of-funnel prospects to consider and devote more time to having in-depth conversations with prospects who already understand the value of the service.
Sure, some of those end-of-funnel conversations take longer. Progress can feel agonizingly slow, especially when leads are so close to conversion. However, by focusing more on those conversations and letting less qualified leads filter themselves out, sales teams can increase the conversion rates of the leads with the best chances of becoming long-term customers.
2. Record Yourself to Catch Bad Habits
Professional musicians record themselves practicing to get better. The world’s top athletes do the same. Why, then, do salespeople frequently fail to utilize one of the most effective practice tools to get better at talking to prospects?
Have sales team members record themselves when they speak to potential customers. Help them identify times when they lose sight of good sales practices and fall into bad habits. People typically don’t remember exactly how conversations play out, but when they can follow the action in vivid detail, they can identify when they jumped to a closing proposition too early or lost sight of the goal of helping the prospect make the best decision.
3. Treat Deadlines as Absolute Law
Prospects usually don’t talk to many people within the company. You might know that other departments are responsible for delays, but your prospective customers don’t. To close more deals, your team must own more of the process.
This goes against the advice that salespeople should spend less time on anything that isn’t sales, but by facilitating faster fulfillment, your team can dramatically increase its close rate. Teach salespeople to follow up on every stage of the deal so they can handle issues as soon as they arise. Create communication processes between departments to keep sales teams in the loop. When prospects call and want to know what’s going on, salespeople should be able to provide that information quickly.
4. Turn Down More Prospects
Research from Marc Wayshak found that most initial prospects ultimately don’t make sense for the company. Instead of selling to anyone who wants to buy, be pickier about who gets to buy. You might lose a few deals, but more importantly, you’ll increase your customer satisfaction rate when fewer bad fits buy your product or service.
Salespeople hate to lose commissions, so consider ways to reward your team via other metrics. Offer bounties to the people with the highest post-purchase satisfaction scores. Create a culture in which making the right sale is psychologically more important than making the immediate sale.
5. Limit the Options
People today love personalization. Coca-Cola lets consumers create their own drinks, Amazon provides an endless list of curated recommendations, and streaming services give viewers access to a million different shows, all of which claim to be a guaranteed fit.
Choice is nice, but it can be overwhelming, too. As you research your prospects, figure out which aspects of your product or service would be best, then limit your presentations and discussions to those options. Don’t let choice overload drive customers to a competitor with a more streamlined buying cycle. You might be proud of all your products and options, but customers can only handle so much information at once.
6. Ask Outright for Referrals
For whatever reason, salespeople rarely ask for referrals. Teach your team to get over their fear of looking needy and start taking advantage of one of the most powerful techniques in the business.
Don’t limit referral requests to post-purchase surveys, either. When sales team members call up new customers, encourage them to ask for referrals in that moment. Follow up on referral requests like you would follow up on pending deals. Even when someone doesn’t close, don’t let that connection fade away. Instead, thank prospects for their time, and ask if they know anyone else who might benefit. Most people won’t have anyone in mind, but the few who do could make some highly valuable introductions.
As the war to differentiate your sales pitches becomes tougher, don’t rely on outdated or unproven sales tactics to win your battles. Think beyond the usual, and start leaning on techniques that lead to more connections, more sales, and more long-term success.