Make Effective Initial Contact
- In this exercise, work with a partner. This could be a fellow sales team member or sales manager or anyone who is in sales and can be an effective coach for you.
- Set up the scenario by making you or your partner the salesperson and the other one will be the prospect. You are then meeting for the first time. If you sell over the phone, pretend you are on the phone, if you sell in person then pretend you at an appointment. NOTE: Once you do the exercise as the sales person, then switch roles so that you may experience how it feels to be the prospect.
- Be interested in the prospect from the initial contact. Whether on the phone or in person, show immediate interest in the prospect. The point here is that you are interest in the prospect and what they are interested in. NOT interested in just making the sale.
- Find out from the prospect “what caused the prospect to make contact?” Was it a marketing or promotion piece? An advertisement? Find out what it was that interested your prospect enough to call. Practice this until you are comfortable with it and can do it smoothly without attention on “having to make the sale.”
- Ok, so you learned from the prospect that they called because of a promotion that they received or they were referred etc… Keep your interest high & practice taking it a step further. Find out what they liked most about the promo or what was it about the promo that caused them to take action & contact you. Or, what about the referral from a friend caused them to take action & contact you. This gives you additional information about what the prospect is thinking & what they are interested in. Practice taking notes of this.
- Take it even further, building up a high communication. You may ask “How long have they been thinking about buying a product or service like this?” Also an important question you need answered. Make notes of how long. Then ask a question like: “I am curious why it was you didn’t buy the product or service before now?” NOTE: Exact wording of any of these questions is not important. Keeping a high level of care, communication and interest is key. Practice this until you are comfortable with it.
Handling the Prospect Who Says “I need to think about it”
- Keep the same partner you have thus far and now have the person playing the role of prospect tell you “I need to think about it”. NOTE: While this objection can come up anywhere in the process, for this drill the scenario is that you have just presented your product or service after finding out from the prospect what they need and want. And now the prospect tells you, “I need to think about it”.
- The solution is really in the details. From your notes in the initial contact stage, you have found out that the prospect has been thinking about buying a similar product or service like yours for 6 months or more. First understand that the prospects idea is to “think about it” ensure to give a powerful acknowledgment to this: “(insert first name), I completely understand, it is perfectly natural to feel hesitant about trying something new” This lets the prospect know you understand them.
- Then remind them about the fact that they have been thinking about it for 6 months or more and that because you care about them, you want to ensure they get the product at this time. Otherwise, what can happen is 6 months from now, they still will be thinking but not have the results of the product or service.
Final Exercise: Take a look at any sales you have in process that have not closed yet, or are not moving well. Make contact with them in a new unit of time and let them know you are doing a Quality Control survey to ensure they are being taken care of well. Run them through the steps of this exercise, finding out and noting all the information about their original purpose for contacting you and how long had they been considering a product or service like yours before they contacted you. This should get some of the prospects that may be stuck or not moving to move again. You may learn something interesting about your prospects as well!
I hope now you have a good idea of how to make initial contact and handle the object that the prospect needs to “Think about it”. This is used as part of your continuous improvement system of Core Sales Abilities will be very effective in closing more sales.