[Podcast] 3 Steps to Increasing Sales Traction
You want sales to constantly be flowing, because business thrives on revenue. But starting sales conversations and refining your sales process can be a momentous task.
To start more sales conversations that strengthen your company and increase revenue, you’ll need to ask:
- How can you get your team more comfortable with starting sales conversations?
- How should and shouldn’t you approach leads?
- What can you do to continually create opportunities to meet leads?
We’ll help you answer these questions, and show you how to get into your target customers' mind so you can provide the value they need and close more sales. Keep reading, or listen to the full audio in the player above.
1. How do you get your team more comfortable with starting sales conversations?
Whether your team is experienced or green in sales, you need to introduce them to both your product and target customers before they’ll feel comfortable approaching leads.
It can be hard for your team to put themselves out there, if they feel like they’re contacting strangers. But the reality is a good sales process will make cold calls feel like they’re never to strangers, when you map out who your customers are with targeted marketing.
Target marketing helps train your team to identify who (and in what industry) they should sell to, so they’re prepared to pitch specifically to that customer. It also teaches your team which markets they should stay away from, so they don’t waste their time on unqualified leads.
This ultimately gives you what you need to start sales conversations that are comfortable for everyone.
Hubspot’s Make My Persona can help you create buyer personas that train your team to identify ideal customers. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on their:
- Demographics (i.e., age, gender, marital status, education level, income, etc.)
- Needs, aspirations, and goals
- Problems, pain points, and obstacles to achieving their goals
- Buying behaviors and patterns
- Potential objections to your product or service
- Average timeline from interest to purchase
You can also check out our guide to creating and targeting custom buyer personas.
Your sales team also needs to be able to answer why your customers would want to use your product:
1. Why does your company do what you do?
2. What’s the story behind it?
3. How does your customer fit into that story, and why are you targeting them?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help your team better resonate with customers (which is a goal we’ll continue to talk about throughout this post.)
2. How should your team approach leads?
You need a sales process that guides your team on how to best approach a potential customer after you’ve identified them as a qualified lead.
Sandler’s Training, an award winning sales training company, outlines the steps to their sales process as:
1. Bonding and rapport
2. Up-front contracts (an initial agreement on what you’re doing now and what you may do next)
3. Discovering pain points
4. Discussing budget
You need to develop rapport with potential customers before you actually start pitching to them. You can build rapport by setting up-front objectives, or expectations, including encouraging the customer to say “no” if they aren’t interested.
You can also build rapport—and subsequently learn more about the customer—when you ask them questions that encourage them to talk about themselves with questions like:
- What is your company trying to accomplish?
- What are your pain points?
- Help me understand what you do.
This gives power to the prospect and allows them to lead the conversation, which makes them more likely to trust you. It also helps you dip out of the sales process early, if you know they aren’t interested or a good fit for a purchase—which saves both parties’ time.
You’ll also want to then set up an up-front contract with the customer, which lets them know what the current conversation’s goals are, and what actions they can choose to take after the conversation.
These actions could be:
- Set up another call
- Create a proposal
- Start working together
- Or decide it’s not a fit
This gets the buyer to agree to a game plan, so you’re both on the same page right away. Plus, the sale now becomes a partnership instead of a pitch, because you’re giving the other person agency.
This ensures that a) both parties get good use of their time, b) the sale is a good fit, and c) that money will be well spent since you’re both equally exchanging energy.
Afterwards, send trust indicators, like your LinkedIn page, and see if they engage with it. Then follow up if they do.
What approaches should you avoid?
A great sales process puts your customer at the center of the conversation, and makes them the real hero. That means you should avoid talking just about you and your product.
The reality is no one really cares about what your product does—they care about their needs.
So think like the person you’re selling to, and figure out their pain points and goals. A bad sales pitch won’t address those things, or try to answer the question, “How do I help this person get what they want and solve their problem?”
3. What can you do to continually create opportunities to meet leads?
The more leads you approach, the more likely you are to close deals—but you have to create opportunities to meet those leads.
For starters, get on Facebook or LinkedIn, and put yourself out there. The key is to start conversations and answer questions, so you can become a guide people trust.
Create content, and gather a group of followers you can share it with. You want content people are interested in, which is usually what’s going on in their community, like:
- Human interest stories
- Trends in the industry
- Common problems
Your ultimate goal with content should be to solve problems for your viewers and become their news source. Then you can slide in events or time slots they can use to reach out to you for more guidance.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can help you find prospects that would enjoy or benefit from your content, so you can add them to your audience and turn them into warm leads.
Put your customers first.
It’s easy to think about your company’s needs first, but you have to do the exact opposite. Start thinking about the people you’re selling to instead. What the buyer wants is ultimately what will lead you to what you want.
Get inside the mind of your buyer by always asking, “How can I best help you?” and then hone in on the use case they give you.