By Evan Vitale
One of the hardest things for most business owners to do is sales.
We offer a great product or an outstanding service. We’re motivated. We can do a decent job of marketing, but when it comes down to meeting prospects face-to-face (or talking to them over the phone), we get nervous, we freeze or, perhaps, we talk too much and closing the deal becomes a difficult chore.
A business friend of mine could close the deal, but he also didn’t like doing the sales pitch with the suit-and-tie thing. Still, he was good at it! However, if he was away from the office too much, then the consulting work that needed to get done wouldn’t get done. It didn’t seem like there were enough hours in the day (that is a topic for a different blog).
Still, here’s how he went about closing the sale:
– Marketing and networking to get potential customers interest. He did very little cold calling. Instead, he “warmed” up his prospects by educating them with a strong and effective marketing campaign and he made his business well-known by networking; attending conferences and good public relations.
– Writing blogs for his website on a regular basis. He also assigned staff members to write one blog post a week. Writing blogs not only helped educate and inform his prospects, but it made his company stand out as an expert.
– When prospects called him (or sent him an e-mail), they were already “warm” to the idea of hiring his company for its consulting services.
– When meeting face-to-face, my friend’s best advice is this: shut up. Let the prospect tell you about their problem. The more you let them talk (ask them questions), they more they will talk themselves into hiring your company.
– There’s no need to do a pitch. It’s not about you or your company or your products and services. It’s ALL about the prospect and how you can solve their pain.
These tips worked almost every time. My friend’s marketing return rate was 5-7% (almost unheard of) and his closing rate is in the mid-90 percentile. No tricks or closing gimmicks. Just listen.