Sales would be a whole lot easier if we could just hypnotize all our prospects: we'd pitch them our product, walk them through the sales process, and they would sign on the dotted line.
Even if that approach was possible, however, what it likely wouldn’t do is secure those prospects' lasting loyalty and partnership.
And if that's your goal – which it should be – it’s definitely better to take a more subtle, measured approach to making prospects want to do what you want them to. By using the following techniques, you’ll be able to encourage your prospects to take action and move forward with your company. If you do it really well, they’ll probably even think it’s their idea.
#1 - Lead With What’s in It For Them
Don’t start a sales pitch with … well, a sales pitch. Instead of listing off all the features and perks of your product, start with the benefits and how you can solve a specific problem they have. For example, if you provide an AI-driven chat tool and they have a growing online business, you can offer them data and anecdotal evidence about how and why that specific solution might be a good pairing for them.
#2 - Segment and Focus
When you send a message to a large audience, your call to action (CTA) has to be general enough to encompass the many potential clients you’re trying to connect with. By segmenting your audience, you have a better chance of offering a CTA that appeals to them (and, according to one study, a 760% potential increase in revenue generated).
A small startup may find a free trial or a price incentive more enticing, while a larger company with multiple layers of management may be more interested in case studies and demos they can share with their management team and get buy-in prior to moving forward with the process.
#3 - Find the Decision-Makers
Data suggests C-suite leaders are more likely to be open to a call or conversation than their direct reports or other management team members.
Seventy-five percent of C-suite members said they’re happy to take sales calls, which can give you a mandate for additional conversations with their supporting team members once you have a foot in the door.
#4 - Be Succinct
You don’t have to bury your prospects in information on the first contact. Instead, give them enough information to get them to say yes to the next step, but not so much that you overwhelm them, bore them, or drown out their interest.
If you’re connecting by phone, a shorter call generally has a better success rate; 6- to 10-minute calls hit the sweet spot and are generally more successful than calls that go longer than 10 minutes.
#5 - Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up
Getting a prospect on board and ready to progress to the next step doesn’t always happen on the first try. Instead, when you’re building a relationship, understand that you may need to repeat yourself; one study showed that the sixth contact with a prospect was actually more successful than the first.
If business is booming for your prospect, they may be interested in what you can provide but need a reminder to continue moving forward. Don’t go the passive-aggressive route with your follow up; a “I just wanted to check in” or “I know you’ve been busy” message won’t help you strengthen the relationship.
Instead, share something of value with them; follow up by providing your latest case study or sharing an article that highlights a pain point or solution you’ve discussed. In this way, you can restart a conversation and make sure your product and business stay top of mind.
#6 - Use Referrals to Your Advantage
Prospects are generally much more interested to hear what you have to say if they know someone else is in your corner. By securing a referral and using it to start the conversation, you give your prospects a reason to trust you and a reason to say yes.
Prospects who are referred to you are four times more likely to make a purchase than other prospects. And, you can make it easy for your satisfied customers to give you a referral by providing them with a template, if they indicate they’re willing (91% of them are, but far fewer are actually asked to provide one).
#7 - Anticipate a Yes
Anticipating a yes might just sound like invoking the power of positive thinking; however, it’s more than that. By anticipating a yes, you can proactively plan and prepare for the next step.
Many buyers want to talk about how the product works and receive a demo of its functionality on the first call. If you anticipate their interest and have a demo queued up, you can easily garner a yes and encourage forward movement in the sales process.
#8 - Create a Sense of Urgency
When you create a feeling of urgency, you’re more likely to secure a sale.
Urgency doesn’t mean being pushy or using high-pressure sales techniques. Instead, it means using your sales skills to uncover reasons your prospects should make a move, then making it easy and convenient for them to do so.
As an example, a compliance-related SaaS company might be able to highlight specific areas where they’ve helped clients avoid legal or regulatory issues. By sharing this information, they’re showing the benefits of immediate action to add new technology, without employing scare tactics or making prospects feel cornered.
Urgency can also be created by employing scarcity techniques.
You can let prospects know you only have a couple of spaces left in your online coaching program or that you can offer a discount that’s only available for a limited time. When they think there are fewer chances to get a good deal, they’re psychologically primed to take action.
#9 - Use Strong, Specific Language
Calls to action like “Click here” and “Start now” are frequently used in emails and on websites. However, they don’t necessarily have the energy behind them that a more specific CTA might.
For example, if you’re receiving an email about travel opportunities, “Start planning your adventure” sounds much more enticing than “Learn more.” If you’re selling a software solution, your call to action might be “Schedule a demo” instead of “Get started.”
#10 - Give Them Something
Ever wondered why grocery stores offer you mouthwatering samples as you peruse their aisles? It’s a psychological thing; when someone gives you something, you’re more likely to want to reciprocate.
Your gift to a prospect doesn’t have to be physical (although potential clients may appreciate a little something sent to their office). It can be access to a client-only webcast, a free trial of your product/service, or an interesting piece of content your company has created that’s not available publicly.
#11 - Refine Your Results
Analyze the success or shortcomings of your efforts. If you send out emails that get opened, you probably have a good subject line.
However, if the prospects are not clicking through the email or moving down the funnel, you either have a content or a CTA issue. Use data, including Google Analytics tracking and A/B testing, to determine what you can do.
Optimization of a page or email isn’t a one-time shot, either. If you tweak your CTA button, you may find that your content could be slightly adjusted/improved and vice versa.
#12 - Do Your Research First
Make sure the product or service you’re pitching is a good fit and would solve a problem for the client before you pitch them.
Using an account-based strategy means focusing on truly knowing your prospects and understanding their needs to pitch smarter to them. If you do your research and follow up on a problem you know they have, you’ll be able to frame your pitch around that issue or concern.
#13 - Build Relationships
Show that you are a trusted advisor in your company’s area of expertise by connecting and creating relationships, and by sharing content of value before you ever reach out with a sales-oriented message.
When a potential prospect sees the knowledge you’re willing to share and trusts your expertise, they’re more likely to turn to you for problem-solving. Most B2B decision-makers review at least five pieces of content prior to making a decision; if you’re actively creating and sharing useful content via social media, you’re building a foundation for a relationship long before your first official sales pitch.
It Takes Time and Testing
Making prospects do what you say isn’t necessarily a one-step process.
Instead, many small efforts combine together to create success. That level of effort can take time and persistence, and can be supported by an outsourced sales team.
Consider handing off the responsibility of ongoing connections and follow-ups (sending emails, connecting via social media, or making phone calls, to name a few) to a managed sales team.
Their focused efforts can make a big difference both in your workload and your success rates. The many small steps they take will build rapport with your prospects and encourage them to do what you say and seal the sales deal when the opportunity arises.
What’s your top tip for convincing prospects to do what you say? Feel free to share in the comments:
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