No matter what you’re selling, one of the most important things that can set you apart from your competitors is responsiveness. Although I work in sales, I am frequently a buyer. One of the things that frustrates me most, is when salespeople simply aren’t responsive enough.
Customers are involving sales reps later and later in the sales process due to the huge amount of information that is available online. Due to this, by the time they’re involving a sales rep, it’s toward the later parts of their buying process or it’s due to having specific questions that they can’t get answers to elsewhere. There is nothing more frustrating as a buyer than to request specific information, just to then receive an automated email that says “Hi, . How can I help?”
A personal example- yesterday I was car shopping online. While car shopping isn’t quite shopping for your next cloud solution to boost your company’s growth, the concept still applies. Before I decided to go to the dealership and invest my time, I went online and looked at all of the potential cars. My next step was to estimate costs as thoroughly as I could, figure out the specific features I needed, make sure it was available on a car in stock, and to then reach out to a sales rep and get any additional information I needed. So I did what I could, and then requested that the rep text me and when doing so I asked a few very specific questions.
A few minutes later, I got a message that said “How may I assist you?”
To which I responded, “Did you not get my text?”
The rep then came back and said “We have the vehicle in stock.”
To which I responded “I understand, please read the rest of my request.”
And finally I got the answer- “Sorry. No blind spot detectors.”
At this point, I was blown away by his lack of responsiveness and overall effort to the point of finding it funny.
Needless to say, I didn’t go to his dealership.
What would’ve been a much better response, and what would’ve ensured that I went to the car dealership and drove away with his car would have been: “Hi Anna, thanks for checking out XYZ car. We have a few in this model available, and although we don’t currently have any with Blind Spot Detectors they do have X, Y, and Z features which other customers are very happy with. Are you free to come check it out today?”
As sales leader and author Andy Paul says, the equation of responsiveness is that “Responsiveness = Value + Speed.” In my own role as an SDR at RingDNA, it’s critical that I respond to inquiries as quickly as possible, and deliver as much value as possible in that first contact and those that follow. But the reality is that most B2B and B2C reps just aren’t responsive enough. You don’t know how many times prospects have thanked me for quickly responding to their inquiries. It’s one of the most important parts of being an SDR, if not the most important part.
Looking to improve your own responsiveness or your team’s responsiveness? Here are 5 quick tips:
IBM set a rule that whenever a question is asked or a request is made, that customer must receive a response within 24 hours. Start by setting this same goal for yourself. Then work to get it down to 1 hour or even 30-minutes and enjoy the increased rate of connections you will see as a result.
In sales, we are told to ask questions, and then ask more questions. Somewhere along the way, we forgot how to answer their questions. Make sure that with each question you are asked, whether it’s the initial inquiry or later in the conversation, that you thoughtfully respond to each individual thoroughly.
It’s always easiest to answer a question with a “yes” or a “no”. However, don’t stop there! For example, suppose a prospect asks if you offer a feature. If you do, be sure to communicate that feature value. If you don’t, you may be able to communicate that perhaps that feature is not as valuable as they think it is or how a different feature or workflow can better accomplish their needs.
Don’t forget that customers are buying you. We live in a world where product differentiation is becoming more and more challenging. If your competitors haven’t already closed the feature gaps with your solution, they’re likely working on it. At the end of the day, it likely will come down to the personality of the sales rep that will determine whether or not it’s your product that they buy.
In the B2B world, a huge mistake that is often made is not researching the company you are selling to prior to your first connection. Researching prospects and their companies will give you relevant talking points to build rapport (check out some great rapport building questions, here!) and give you the insight you need to talk to somebody about their business, and how you can add value.
Want more successful sales calls? Check out our free sales call cheat sheet!
Anna Kelley is a sales representative at RingDNA. She is passionate about building relationships with businesses and solving their pain points through technology. When she's not helping customers find solutions, she loves to spend time outdoors riding horses or rock climbing.