Keeping Prospects Engaged

You call on a potential prospect but they are not ready to buy now.   You recognize this is not a stall, but a legitimate reason that they can’t buy now.  It could be they have a contract that needs to expire, etc.

The question is how do I keep them engaged between now and the time they are ready to buy?

I had a coaching client who asked me this question.  She was having difficulty seeing how to keep a potential prospect engaged for the next 12 months until their current contract expired.

Here are a couple of approaches you can implement in your sales strategy to keep your prospects engaged.

To keep a prospect engaged you have to understand the key things that are important to them.   This doesn’t have to be something related to your product or service (in fact it works much better if it isn’t), but something that is important to their company, market, or business.

When you know what’s important to your prospect, you can send them information that you feel they may find valuable about that topic.  This could be an article from a trade publication, newspaper, etc.

How you send this information is very important.  You want to cut out the article and attach a personal note.

Something to the effect of “You mentioned about this topic being important to you.  I came across this article and I thought you might find it interesting and useful.”

Send in a hand written envelope addressed to your prospect personally.

This aids in getting the letter past the gate keeper because it appears to be personal mail.

You don’t want to add anything that would be self serving such as “I’m looking forward to doing business with you.” or anything like that.   Make this correspondence solely about them.

Now, in a week or so you can call and ask did they receive it.  Your initial conversation is about the information your sent.    Then you can then turn this conversation into something about the future possibilities of working together.

Here is what you have created in this sequence.  First, you have demonstrated you have the best interest of your prospect in mind.  When your prospect believes you are going to do what is best for them it increases your creditability.

Secondly, you have differentiated yourself from your competition.  Let’s face it, very few people take time to consider what is important to someone else and then take action on it.  Mostly, people only do what will benefit them.  Here you have demonstrated you want to do what is best for them.

This is highlighted even more because the information you send is totally unrelated to your product or service.

Another technique you can use is inviting.  There may be a program or event that is dealing with the subject your prospect is interested in.  Invite your prospect to the event.

This is a powerful demonstration of you thinking of your prospect.

Whether or not your prospect attends the event or not doesn’t matter.   The impact you make is in the inviting.  When you invite someone to something the underlying message is: “you think enough of me to invite me to this event.”

Of course if they attend it is really great situation because you get some “face” time with your prospect.

Try these two techniques and you will keep your prospects engaged.

Happy Selling

Create Creditability By Asking The Right Questions

As discussed in our post yesterday on how to establish creditability with a prospect you have to earn the right to continue in the sales process.  The way to establish creditability with a prospect is to demonstrate that you have their best interest in mind.  Asking the right questions is a good way to establish creditability.

A lot of sales people struggle with this because they think that the best way to establish creditability is to tell how great their company is and how great they are.  While this is a part of establishing creditability, consider that before someone is going to listen to how great you or your company is they first want to know that you care about them.  Only after you demonstrate that you care about them will your message about you and your company be really heard by your prospect. Continue reading “Create Creditability By Asking The Right Questions”

How To Establish Creditability With A Prospect

If you have been in sales for any length of time you know you need to establish creditability with a prospect early on in the sales process.  This is a common principle taught in most sales development training.  Establishing creditability earns you the right to move forward in the sales process.   If you try to move forward before you have established creditability, you are probably wasting your time because your prospect is not going to value any solution you bring to them.

To establish credibility you have to show that you have the prospect’s best interest in mind. The best way to demonstrate that you have the prospects best interest in mind is: first do some pre-sale research and then when you meet with your prospect ask questions that focus on their challenges and issues.

Pre-sale research is necessary to first of all determine if you even have a potential prospect.   When you do pre-sale research here are some of the things you want to find out:

  1. The history of the company
  2. Who are the key management people
  3. What are their main products and services
  4. Who are their customers
  5. What are the industry trends
  6. What challenges face the industry
  7. Who is their main competition
  8. Who do they currently use for the products or services you sell

There are more things you could find out, but this should get you started.

Use the pre-sale research information when you meet with your prospect to demonstrate that you care enough about them to find out information before you met with them.  You want to say something like “in preparation for our meeting I was doing some research about your industry and found out one of the challenges is……..How are you dealing with this challenge?”  Do you see how that will separate you from the 10 other sales people calling on the prospect?

Next time we will look at how to ask questions to establish creditability.