Imagine someone interrupts your busy day with a phone call. They don’t greet you by name or ask how you are, they go straight into pushing a product on you that doesn’t solve any of the problems that you’re currently facing, They haven’t asked you any questions, they’ve just spoken. By the end of it, you don’t like the person on the end of the phone and you can’t wait to hang up.
Far too many times, sales reps go full throttle into a sales pitch without considering the needs of the person they’re actually selling to. Big mistake. Instead, reps should start a two-way conversation that creates food for thought. Here are seven ways to do it:
Some sales reps see Salesforce as their arch nemesis, viewing it as a hindrance rather than a help. In order for your sales pitch to be successful, you have to bite the bullet and make friends with it.
CRM is there to propel the sales team forward with their sales process by giving them access to the right data at the right time. They no longer need to simply imagine a world where contact numbers are available to them in a single keystroke because Salesforce telephony and Salesforce email integrations can make this a reality. Time, effort and a whole heap of energy is saved by getting the accurate contact information they need in a Salesforce snapshot. Get with the times and say no to thoughts of Excel!
Ask the Right Questions
Just like your prospect has a set of criteria that your solution must meet, the prospect also needs to meet your criteria. Confused?
As an example, here’s a set of criteria we use:
- Must use Salesforce
- Has clearly defined pain points that you can solve
- Must be over 10 Salesforce users
- Must have budget
Why? Because we want to sell to the people that need our solution. Bo Bennett once said “Think of Sales as the ability to gracefully persuade, not manipulate.”
So when we say “ask the right questions”, we don’t mean rattling off a consecutive list of questions:
- “Do you use Salesforce?”
- “What is your pain point?”
- “How many users do you have?”
- “Do you have budget?”
Because that’s not how it works. People engage better when they feel as though their opinions are valued and understood. Work the questions into your pitch in a natural way that isn’t pushy or or disregards the needs of your prospect.
Here’s a brief example of how one of our reps might start a conversation:
“Hi Sarah. I’m calling from Ebsta, one of Salesforce’s AppExchange partners. How are you? … Great! I just wanted to have quick discussion with you today on our new Ebsta Sync product. Do you have a couple of minutes? … Perfect. I want to start with asking you what your biggest challenges are with Salesforce? … That’s interesting because what we’ve found is that 80% of Salesforce records are out of date…”
Use Your Competitor to Your Advantage
You’re mid-pitch and the prospect does the inevitable – ‘But XYZ can do this too?’ Instead of shutting down and going into pure panic mode, use the mention of your competitor to your advantage. This is your prime opportunity to prove that your solution is far better than your competitors without being the one to bring them up.
To prepare yourself for this, you must first:
- Know who all of your competitors are – preferably put together a handy booklet that you can refer back to when you need a refresher (might be a good idea to work with your Marketing department on this)
- Know everything that each competitor’s product/service does – have a checklist of all of their features and benefits so you know exactly what you’re up against
- Know what makes you different
Lead with Benefits, Not Features
Everyone is guilty of focusing far too heavily on features when trying to sell or market a product/service. The way around this is to first ask yourself a very simple question – what is a feature?
If you’re selling a Salesforce integration product, a feature would be that it syncs all emails.
But is that helpful information to you?
Not particularly, but once you follow it up with a benefit, it becomes helpful.
Because it syncs all emails, you’ll get instant visibility into all emails in Salesforce and be able to pick up a conversation with a prospect/customer where you or a colleague left off – bad customer relationships will be a thing of the past!
This is a very simple example but hopefully you can see how the benefit is far more powerful than the feature.
Still not sold? Consider this analogy.
A customer has a puzzle that they can’t figure out. It’s been bugging them for weeks, months, sometimes even years and you come along and tell them that you have the missing pieces to their puzzle. You tell them that the pieces are the right size and shape but the customer can’t quite get them to fit. Then you show them how the pieces fit – these are the benefits and all the pieces start to fit together.
Prospects are more interested in how you can make their work life easier than that your product syncs all emails. Lead with the benefits and sell them the real story.
Use Numbers to Back Up Your Claims
In a world that is combusting with numbers, it’s important that you give the people what they want. Numbers back up the story you’re telling prospects. They provide them with a better understanding of why you’ve built the product/service and how it can help them.
Take this example:
Before we started pitching our new Salesforce Email Integration product, we dug deep into the data that we had to produce statistics that would help us prove that there are big issues our product is solving.
We found these:
90% of emails aren’t added into Salesforce
80% of contacts aren’t in Salesforce
65% of records are out-of-date/incomplete
These are the statistics that our sales reps can now use during their pitches.
Whatever you’re selling, be sure to have some numbers at your disposal. Do some detailed surveys and generate a report off the back of them. Alternatively, gather some information from your own database – just make sure the data is powerful and that it reinforces your claims (and is, of course, 100% true).
It’s hard to quantify how long a cold call should last because it’s all dependent on the person you’re talking to. You might have caught someone at a really great time so they can spend 30 minutes discussing how your solution can help them, but you could also encounter the opposite and have two minutes to impress. However much time you have with a prospect, it’s important that you understand where the conversation is going – do they sound engaged or are they eager to get off the phone? Identify if your time is best spent on the call or whether it will be better spent on another.
Make a Lasting Impression
To make a great impression make sure you achieve five things during each call:
- Show that you genuinely care for your prospect’s needs
- Don’t be ‘looking’ for the sell, you want to naturally come to that conclusion
- Understand your prospect’s pain points and suggest ways to solve them
- Engage in a two-way conversation as opposed to just talking at your prospect
- Be polite, confident and knowledgeable
It’s important to make a good impression because, in case you haven’t noticed, people talk to each other. When you provide prospects with a great experience, word gets around. But the same is true if you provide a bad experience. You should always make sure you’ve represented your organization and yourself in a positive way and generated interest in your product/service even if they didn’t see an immediate need for it.
Let’s face it, most people don’t want a cold call. There’s minimal time to get all the tasks ticked off on our never-ending list and sales reps are stealing it. However, with a perfected pitch, you have the ability to change this negative perception.
These are only a few pointers but they’ll provide you with the foundations to start building a pitch that will get you hitting targets like they’re going out of fashion. Be cautious to remember that reading this blog is one thing but practice, as the old cliché goes, really does make perfect. Good luck!
This is a guest post is authored by Katrina Holmes, Content Manager at Ebsta
For more sales tips check out our eBook Socratic Sales for the best questions to ask prospects during calls.