If your business uses salespeople — if you have a sales team — this could be one of the most profitable things you read this year.
And I don’t care if you’re the business owner, or support the sales team in a marketing or communications role. This applies equally to you.
(If you’re one of my readers who is a copywriter, consultant, or in some other business role where there’s no sales team involved — surely with a little creativity you’ll find a handful of lessons to apply here, too!)
Today, we’re going to talk about how to make sure your sales team closes as many deals as possible!
… And I’m going to show you how to make that happen without hiring another salesperson, and without actually training your salespeople to even get any better at their jobs.
Now, I have one important point.
If you’re running the type of business where your salespeople have a “one and done” opportunity to close sales — telemarketing, door-to-door canvassing, and so on — this may have less of an impact on your business.
Because what I’m about to tell you is especially catered to complex sales. The ones where there may be 5 or 10 or 30 touches before the purchase order is submitted, and the deal is done.
While one-off sales can potentially be improved with what I’m going to talk about, it’s in these multi-touch sales cycles that this lesson will really have a huge impact.
So let’s get into it.
The secret to closing more deals is actually asking them to do LESS, not more!
I’ll explain. The average salesperson is probably a pretty nice guy or gal. But they don’t possess top-shelf sales talent. They’re a warm body. They’re a live voice on the phone. They’re capable of sending emails, and following up when prompted.
But in terms of proactive and professional persuasion?
The first reaction, when dealing with a sales staff mostly made up of salespeople who fit this description, is to push them harder.
Ask them to make more cold calls. Do more follow-up. Contact more prospects. Go to more trade shows. More, more more!
But what happens when you do that? What happens when you push the average salesperson to push themselves more?
Well, they don’t do all that great.
Some will do it, and do okay.
Some will do it, begrudgingly.
And some will shut down or even blow up on you, leaving you with a hole in your sales department, and certainly no more sales!
What you have to do if you’re serious about getting the best possible performance from this sales team is to…
Give them sales tools and marketing collateral that take THEM out of the equation.
You need to give them “done for you” tools to move the sales process along at every step — to make it incredibly simple for them to know what to do next.
Let me give you some examples.
The cold-call alternative…
It’s really hard to make sales through cold-calling. And, it’s typically very inefficient — it doesn’t give you a good ROI, compared to better methods. Plus, ever since “Do Not Call” went into effect, it’s grown ever-harder to get someone on the phone who’s even willing to talk.
The alternative that works very well — especially for higher-end and more complex sales is lead generation advertising. Very simply, you need to give qualified prospects a way to raise their hand and express interest, in a non-threating, no-obligation manner.
A postcard, space ad, online video, short letter, or other “first touch” marketing piece can be sent to a targeted market, asking them to respond for a “buyer’s guide,” white paper, report, consultation, or other no-cost item that is both perceived as having and delivers actual value to someone in their position.
By collecting contact information in exchange for this “lead magnet,” you’re given the ability to start the selling process. And if you create a lead magnet that’s appealing to probable buyers, you’re able to focus your efforts on (and likely spend more per lead on) folks who are really interested in what you have to offer.
The follow-up sequence…
It’s not enough to get the lead. When I worked in sales, I learned that — particularly for our biggest deals — it would take as many as 28 contacts to close the deal. Considering the $30,000 carrot dangled out there, I kept making those contacts. Most sales people won’t.
That is, not unless you give them the exact messaging they should use, and a system to ensure they are using it.
Give them a pre-done follow-up series to educate, inform, and persuade prospects on all your top products and services.
In addition, give them “cut and paste” text they can use for later follow-up, allowing them to more easily stay in touch with prospects.
The “resuscitate a dead lead” contact…
Inevitably, a database fills with folks who haven’t responded to anything in a while. And maybe your sales department has stopped contacting them.
Some of these folks are still in the market for what it is you offer. For whatever reason, they’ve simply broken contact.
You need something your sales team can use, on occasion, to try to get these dead leads to raise their hand, and reengage in the sales process.
This is very similar to the “lead magnet” above, but perhaps with a new or unique spin more relevant to someone who has already had contact with your company.
Product presentation scripts…
Sales people are notorious for wanting to “wing it.” Most aren’t as good at it as they think.
But if you talk to your top sales people, you’ll find that they are consistent in how they present each product or service.
They know how to present the benefits. They know in what order customers want to know about features. They know when to present terms of the deal, and how to ask the prospect to take the next step.
This should be standardized, and made available for every member of the sales team.
Your sales people don’t have to become sales robots — and, in fact, your sales will suffer if you try to force them to read scripts. But they should have talking points that they could recite in a moment if shaken from a deep sleep.
Webinars and other videos…
Video has become easy, cheap, and expected in nearly every industry today. It’s also a great thing sales people can offer up to prospects to keep them engaged, without trying to cram the sale through on every contact.
“Are you ready to buy yet? … What about now?”
“We have a video that answers the top three questions we get about the product you were asking about — plus two more almost nobody thinks to ask until after they’ve bought. Can I send you a link to that — it’s only 8 minutes long and most folks tell me it’s really helpful?”
Arm your salespeople with a library of these videos, and you’ll find it’s MUCH easier for them to keep in contact with those prospects who will need 28 contacts to close — all the way through until they’ve closed the sale.
Product demonstration videos…
A demonstration is one of the best ways to make a sale. And you’ll find that there’s one person on your team who’s miles ahead of the rest when it comes to demonstrating the product in a way that makes prospects want to buy.
Why not ask them to record their demonstration, and let the whole sales team use it? Pay them a bonus to record the video, if you’d like.
While this is in line with the previous point, this one I so valuable I wanted to make sure it got highlighted separately.
Q&A content on your blog or website…
This is a big one. And it helps in all sorts of ways.
Prospects have questions. Your sales team has answers. Every member of your sales team should be keeping track of the questions they’re being asked by prospects. And you should use this as fodder for website content.
Before long, your sales team will be able to just point folks to the website to get the answer to their question.
But there’s another benefit. Questions are often keyword-rich for your industry or product type. If your website is the place where a ton of questions are answered around your products and industry, it’s not long before you start getting search engine love!
These are HUGE in B2B sales especially. They’re perhaps one of the most powerful selling tools. Ideal case studies can be broken down into three parts…
— What life was like before your solution was implemented, including what led up to the final decision to the solution being sought out and chosen…
— How the solution was implemented, unique to that business…
— And what the results were after the solution was implemented…
Customers want to see that others like them have used this solution, and how it’s worked. So if you’re able to get a handful of case studies for each type of customer or industry vertical you sell to, your sales team will be able to show them exactly what they want and need to make their decision.
Customer reactivation campaign…
You’ve heard it before. It cost 6-10X as much to sell to a new customer as to sell to a previous one.
You have GOLD sitting in your database of past customers… Mine it!
Create an offer that can be used to get old customers buying again… And dig into your database on a regular basis to get previous customers to come back again.
Another way that you can tap the value in your database of past (happy) customers is to get them to refer others like them to you.
Give them a specific reason to refer others. Tell them specifically who they might know that would qualify as a good customer for you. And if appropriate, reward them for sending others your way.
Also, have an additional follow-up “thank you” for completed referrals — to acknowledge your past customer for sending someone your way.
This collection of sales tools and marketing collateral should be collected in a location where it’s easily accessible — and usable — by your sales team…
And then, the primary area of sales training should be around using these items.
If you’re able to get your sales team to use these items regularly and with any hint of aptitude, they will sell far better and close more deals than they would in almost any other scenario.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets