Estimated time of reading: 10 mins.
What I’ll learn from this article: What prospects are and their relevance in any sales effort. How to convert a sale effectively and subsequently converting prospects. And finally, the importance of Customer Service.
This is probably the first question a majority of entrepreneurs ask themselves when they venture into the world of owning a business.
To answer this, a process of reverse-engineering needs to be applied, starting with another question: What is the purpose of my business? Most often, it all boils down to a single word, money.
Your business’ success is directly tied to how much you profit from it, and everything else works in favour of this. You need a product that you can raise revenue from, a marketing strategy to make your product known, a target that would be interested in acquiring your product and – arguably most important – you need someone to sell said product.
This someone is who we call a salesperson, a scholar of the esoteric implications of dealing with strangers on a daily basis and convincing them of parting with their money. This process is referred to as sales conversion, converting the initiative of a person into a closed sale; but we’re going a little further, we’ll talk about Prospect Conversion.
Let’s begin by defining a prospective buyer.
The first step in any selling effort is always reaching to people who could potentially purchase your product. There are two types of potential buyers, commonly confused but identifiable by their perceived level of commitment.
Leads are any and all people who express some interest in your business. This may take the form of filling a survey, checking your website, or calling your representatives, among others; they are all leads.
A lead is not a guaranteed sale, however. Leads need to be generated, followed, nurtured, and it’s not even sure they’ll stick around after all that work. But some do, ascending to the next stage.
Prospects are people ready to make a purchase if given the appropriate reasons for it. They can be seen as leads that have grown past the evaluation phase and now they’re willing to commit.
Although closer, prospects aren’t a certainty either; even if they mean to buy, it doesn’t mean they’ll buy from you. The expertise of the salesperson if what ultimately defines the conversion rate of your sales.
Selling is, for the most part, an abstract discipline. Without any established pathway or restrictions, the best way to define Sales is as a philosophy: Sales is helping your prospects.
You need to listen to your customer’s needs, evaluate their situation and identify their problems, explain the benefits of your offer in direct relation to a solution for this problem, and finally convince your customer to make the best decision.
A good salesperson tries and sells their product to anybody. An excellent salesperson holds a strong sense of integrity and knows when to point prospects to a better direction. Being honest and keeping your client’s best interests in mind is essential to this job.
Good selling is also a form of art since it relies heavily on improvisation and going with the flow, trying to guess what your current client is thinking. There’s not a single, fail-proof methodology that will always result in prospect conversion; however, there are several psychological strategies to ease your clients into accepting your offer.
Selling is a basic skill in life as a whole, anytime you’re convincing someone for a mutually beneficial exchange you’re striking a deal – closing a sale. This is why improving your sales skills should be considered among your top priorities regardless of your field of expertise.
“Life becomes easier when you know how to sell.” – Kerwin Rae
But of course, selling is still especially important for salespeople, it’s their main forte, their bread and butter, what they wake up for every day. As such, it’s imperative they arm themselves with as much knowledge and tools as humanly possible to strike a deal with every prospect.
Most of the time, a salesperson job is simply to talk. Every sale starts by holding a conversation with your client; listen to their problems and sort out their options to solve the issue with your services. Pretty easy… Or so it would seem, but you must earn your sale.
For better or worse, your client will always have some limitations, be they mental, physical or financial, that must be addressed to close a deal. The point here is to circumvent such limitations and offer the best service, one that complies with the customer expectations.
Will this product help me? Is this seller being honest about the product? Does this person have the knowledge to solve my problem? Is this offer the best I can get for my money?
These are the common questions that flock around a customer’s head and you must make sure that they’re all checked with a solid Yes by the end of the sales conversation. An efficient conversation route needs to be established in order to achieve this final agreement – and ensure a positive connection with your new consumer.
You have several tactics at your disposal – key elements you could say – as well as general pointers to support yourself while driving your client through sales-road. The project of making a sale is a highly psychological one, so the best practice is to just try and understand your customers.
Most salespeople might think that closing the deal is the final step, they may think that selling their product is the end goal of their job. But most of them are wrong.
As the actually successful reps can vouch for, it all begins and ends with your customers. This looks like a simple shift in philosophy, but it goes a long way when taken to heart.
The job of a salesperson isn’t selling a good, it’s converting prospects into consumers of your brand.
Sure, converting sales is a necessary – and desired – step in the process, but it’s rarely the ultimate purpose here. You don’t want to make a single sale; you want that client to contact your business again in the future, to recommend you among their friends, to review you positively and create a name for your brand.
For most buyers, the competence of the salesperson and the quality of customer service of a brand are the strongest factors when developing brand loyalty. Aim to create a strong emotional connection and provide satisfaction to your customers every time they buy from you.
The only way to fully convert prospects to your brand is to give them the most satisfactory service, plain and simple. Even more than the quality of products or low prices, people buy for the experience, thus a pleasant customer experience can make or break any long-term relationship.
“Great service pays by itself.” – Gladly
However, the best prospect conversion strategy will forever be the most fundamental one: Listen to your clients.
Be an active listener, show attentiveness and empathy for your customers, support them and probe them with open-ended questions to prompt them into revealing more of themselves, allowing you to adjust your offer to better suit their needs.
If you do well in helping your prospects, they will be forever in your debt, a debt they’ll pay in referrals and subsequent engagement with your brand, allowing you to grow ever more influential and credible with firm foundations for your business.
By John Mackenzie – Founder & CEO of Staff Leverage, NT Digital and JohnMac Digital
Do you want to be successful? We know how you can be. For more information on the previous topics and deeper insight into the intricacies of efficient business, see the following articles: