3. Have sales reps follow up quickly with prospective customers – and pick up a phone. “Fast response times can increase the odds of winning the client,” says Shah.
“As a follow-up to any new sales opportunity, [sales] reps should [immediately] email each prospect a piece of content designed to advance the conversation forward,” says Saitz. And this content should be “mapped in context with the prospect’s persona, industry and stage of the buying cycle.”
But don’t just follow up with prospects via email.
“My number 1 tip for converting leads into sales is to pick up the phone,” says Josh Pittman, vice president, Inside Sales, Velocify, a provider of intelligent sales software. “While communicating with qualified leads through email serves a basic function, a lot can be lost using email by itself, as it fails to capture tone and emotion,” he says. “Picking up the phone [and] learning the pain points [prospects] are facing establish[es] a personal connection in real time, earning their trust and eventually their business.”
And if you are unable to connect with the lead the first time you try, don’t give up. Leave a message (if you called) and follow up again in a day or two, via email and phone. And keep trying until you get a response. Just be sure not to overdo it – e.g., call or email more than once a day – as that can turn off prospects.
4. Have sales reps avoid the hard sell and instead focus on solving problems. “Instead of launching into a pitch about your product, since the customer has already expressed interest, the most effective way to open the conversation is to introduce yourself, [explain] why you're calling [e.g., ‘I heard you were having a problem with…’] and ask ‘How can I help you?’” says Jessica Magoch, CEO, The Virtual Sales Academy. “Then listen. Many of your qualifying questions will be answered and the customer will tell you exactly what he or she wants to buy. Then just sell them what they want to buy, [or what they really need,] not what you want to sell.”
As for upselling, if you have an additional product or solution that the prospect didn’t ask for, or knows about, but that would help her solve her problem, by all means mention it. Just be prepared to back off – and focus on winning the initial sale – if the customer says she’s not interested, or not interested right now. If you make the customer feel comfortable working with you, she will likely continue to buy from you/your company.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.