Written by Hamish Knox; President of Sandler in Calgary, Canada
Creating accountable, sales focused organizations in Calgary
There’s a hole in your lead gen
Dear Owner, Dear Owner
There’s a hole in your lead gen
Dean Owner a hole
Don’t get nervous. The hole (probably) isn’t in the campaign you just paid lots of money for. The hole is in turning all those inbound leads (they’re coming, right?) into clients.
Lead gen is a part of marketing and marketing is everything that gets your salesperson to “hello” with a prospect. Marketing is a critical part of an organization’s economic engine; however, especially in a business-to-business environment, marketing doesn’t turn suspects into prospects and prospects into clients.
The hole for you as the leader of the business to fill is in developing your salespeople’s prospecting skills. Yes, that means giving them the concepts, tools and mindset to effectively convert a higher percentage of your inbound leads into meetings or clients, but it also means that they spend less time communicating with tire kickers.
All leads aren’t good leads and even the most highly targeted inbound leads are still suspects until a conversation happens with one of your salespeople to convert them to a prospect. Without the right skills to quickly disqualify the tire kickers your salespeople will at best say “boss, stop the marketing we can’t handle all these leads,” or at worst get overwhelmed and start looking for a new role at a company where they don’t feel so much pressure.
To support your team (and your business) in plugging the hole in your current lead gen plan execute on these three steps.
- Change their mindset from “selling” to “prospecting” – with a “prospecting” mindset your team will focus on disqualifying the tire kickers instead of attempting to sell to a suspect who us unlikely to buy.
- Adjust their behavior from “giving” to “gathering” information – one of David Sandler’s Rules is “your value as a professional salesperson, and ultimately the size of your compensation, is based on the amount of information you gather instead of the amount of information your dispense.” When gathering information there are no magic questions. Support your team in understanding that it typically takes three or more questions to get to the truth with your prospect, which Sandler called “the rule of three plus.”
- Hold them accountable to setting expectations with their prospects up front – salespeople (myself included) tend to believe that if they speak with an inbound lead they must be ready to buy, which causes them to “assume the close” and run into a brick wall at the end of their call when their prospect wants to “think it over.” Practise setting expectations up front with your team, the Sandler concept is called an “Up Front Contract,” which could sound like (after building a little rapport), “Prospect, may I share with you how we typically work with our clients?” (prospect says ‘yes’) “Great. By the end of this call we’ll know if it makes sense to move forward. If one of us doesn’t feel that’s the right move then we’ll end our conversation and go our separate ways. On the other hand, if we do want to move forward, that often means we’re picking a start date, collecting payment details and introducing you to our implementation team. Are you okay with that only if both of us want to move forward?” The prospect has only two responses, “no” or “yes.” If the former the next question is “why” and if the latter the next question is “what boxes do you need to check to be comfortable moving forward?” If your sales cycle involves more steps (like a demo) then your next step would change to something like, “we’ll book a demo before we wrap up this call, fair?”
Converting 80 or 90% of your leads is great when you’re at 8/10 or 9/10. When its 800/1000 or 900/1000 there are 1-200 prospects being wasted who might have been converted had your salespeople followed a structure for disqualifying tire kickers and advancing quality prospects. That’s in addition to the lower stress and anxiety your team will feel when they are confident that they have the tools to manage all of those leads effectively.
Until next time… go lead.
Revised & Updated Cold Call Bootcamp
An interactive sales workshop designed to produce results, learn effective cold calling techniques, and overcome call reluctance.
Friday October 27, 2017 from 11:30AM-2:30PM
Most sales people hate making cold calls for one of two reasons: They don’t have a system, or the system they have doesn’t work. If this sounds like you or your team, this boot camp may be for you.
- Anxious about making Cold Calls?
- Tired of not getting past the Gate Keeper?
- Sick of hearing “Email me some info”?
- Struggling to hit your numbers?
- Frustrated because you don’t have enough appointments in your calendar?
- Irritated because you keep getting stuck in voice mail?
You’ll leave with the tools to…
- Make a no-pressure prospecting call
- Ensure you maintain control during the call
- Develop a customized approach, geared to your business
- Know when and how to leave voice mails
- Understand how to eliminate stalls and objections