1. Understanding Your Target Audience
This allows you to tailor your marketing, sales language and style to meet the needs of your audience.
How to do this:
- Who is your current customer base?
- Check out your competition
- Who are you most passionate about helping?
- Which area of the audience do you best understand? This is likely to be related to you yourself as you obviously understand your own needs and desires best!
- How large is your audience? You want to find a balance between being niche and building an audience of substantial size.
3. Listen In Order To Understand
Often we wrongly assume we know what our customers are looking for, without taking into account their unique needs.
Therefore it is pivotal to really understand what the buyer is looking through. This could be through carrying out market research (especially if you are at early stages of building your business). Most importantly, in my experience, this is done through asking open ended questions to get the customer talking.
A goal should be to hit the mark for 80% of the time in the first meeting that the customer is talking for. Perhaps you’ll hit 70%….this is still strong!
Write notes, probe on interesting bits (to gain deeper info) and get really inside the brain of your prospective customer.
4. Qualify Your Leads
Why? to ensure your time is being best used – a problem I regularly see is that too many people spend excess time focusing on leads which aren’t going to bring in much (if any) revenue.
Have simple criteria to do this. Currently I use a tiered approach, to give you an example of what this may look like below.
- Tier 1: anticipated to spend above £50k for next 6 months. Direct access to decision maker. Need is well established.
- Tier 2: anticipated to spend above £20-50k for next 6 months / direct access to decision maker or influence, need it apparent
- Tier 3: anticipated to spend £5-20k for next 6 months. Access to influencer, need is apparent
For the top tier you will want to be spending the largest portion of your time on, building out the strongest proposals and checking in with them regularly. Basically, this is the group who you give the highest level of service to as they have the highest potential to spend!
5. Research your potential clients
After spending the last few years of my sales career in the consulting world, the most common mistake which i hear sales teams are making is ‘not researching their clients enough’ before meeting with the.
Save this research in your pipeline mgmt system and send it to others (only on your side of course) who are attending the meeting.
Understand 1) The company 2) the person or people you will be speaking to. Gauge their decision making power, potential need for your product or service, obstacles that may be in the way etc
6. Anticipate Objections
This allow you to come up with solutions beforehand. Like anything in life….’failing to prepare means preparing to fail’.
Perhaps they are a company similar to one which has asked you for a discount before? Perhaps you already know they are looking at one of your competitors?
Practice objection handling internally (or if you are a one man band, with a partner or friend). Ask them to be VERY challenging. You may flop on occassions but keep practicing and your natural voice will begin to emerge and you WILL become more confident.