The vibrancy and longevity of our business depends on our sales performance. Whether we are a small business operator or a corporate conglomerate, sales is our lifeline. Even if we are a not-for-profit institution, we need sales (revenue) to run our organization. Basically, sales is crucial to the existence of every business. Therefore, it deserves our full attention, dedication and commitment.
Organizations are working tirelessly to accelerate their sales performance. It is a consistent challenge, as factors that play a role in a successful sales closing, constantly changes. Businesses have to shift and adapt on a continuous basis. As a result, they are willing to try all options available on the “table” to accelerate their sales closing.
We have come a long way in our sales history; from the days of “Always Be Closing” (ABC) to our most recent claims of “content is King”, within the sales context. We have tried and tested them all and sometimes we felt genius when it worked while other times it disappointed us. It is a shifting target and we have to constantly chase and adapt accordingly.
One thing that has remained constant, throughout sales history, is the importance of “Engagement” in establishing our Prospect’s/Client’s trust. We already know that we can not successfully complete a transaction if we do not gain the trust of our Prospect. Basically, the more we “Engage” with our “Prospect”, the better results we get.
What do we mean by “Engage”? In simple terms, it means that both the “Advisor/Salesperson” and the “Prospect/Client” are on the same side. They work together to find a solution to the problem. They “collaborate” to achieve the goal and not play a “cat and mouse game”.
The only thing that has changed, from the past, is the medium of “Engagement”. In the past, people might have “Engaged” in person, but nowadays, thanks to advancements in technology and changes in people’s behaviour and expectations, it is possible to do the same online. We call it “Online Workspace”.
At the moment, our “Prospects” are “Engaging” with our so-called online content. However, recent research clearly indicates that people are overwhelmed with so much content available at their disposal. Most of the time, they are lost and confused moving from one content to the other, as one of the researches state that: “Research shows that if you’re surrounded by an abundance of options, you typically end up less satisfied with your final decision than if you’d been given fewer options in the first place.”
Further, there are many of our “Prospects” that have no patience for consuming any more content. “Prospects” prefer to get to the answer right away, with no delays and no effort. Giving them more content is the wrong solution. They want answers to their inquiry now. And if we don’t give them what they are looking for, they will move on. Successful organizations give immediate answers to specific questions in the context of their “Prospect’s” problem. “Prospects” have no patience to be “Educated” anymore. They are looking for a specific answer to their specific problem.
So, we have to shift our focus from generating more content to more “answering”. We have to move from “wasting” our Prospect’s time to saving them time by handling their inquiries. Of course, handling their inquiries is not simple. We need to allocate resources to handle their inquiries ranging from “platforms” that facilitate “Engagement” to AI technologies that work at our Prospect’s term and timing.
Remember that “Prospects” are not looking for a “generic” answer. They are looking for a “specific” answer to their “specific” inquiry. Hence, this requires “expertise”, someone who truly knows ins and outs of the business. Just a side note here, investing resources to educate your people that are handling these inquiries are worth every penny of it. You can not outsource this service. It has to be internalized in your entire organization.
Additionally, this “qualified expert” has to believe in the answers that are provided to the inquiries. With belief comes conviction. Your belief in your solution makes your “Prospect” believe in you and your answers. Always remember that people have a sixth sense and with the help of their intuition they know whether your answers are authentic or not. Please don’t try to trick them into something that you don’t believe in.
Our experience further gives us evidence that our “Prospect” wants to be involved in the buying process. What a better way than to “Engage” them. This opportunity is never given to them until now. We know better now that our “Prospects” prefer to be involved in every step of the way.
CHANGE FROM CONTENT TO QUESTION:
Let me make it simple for you. You have to break down your “content” into Questions. I am assuming here that you have done your homework and understand your “Prospect” problems and have prepared content accordingly. With that understanding, now is the time to utilize that content and prepare intelligent and informative questions to peak your “Prospect’s” interest.
Having said that, I want to be very clear that there is no “one size fits all” strategy here. Breaking down the content to Questions is just the beginning and background material to prepare your mindset. It needs much more effort than that as each “Prospect” has a different problem and each problem has different types of inquiries. So each inquiry deserves its own unique answer. That is why, I emphasised earlier, that the person who is handling “Prospect” inquiries has to be a qualified “expert” who knows what they are talking about.
HOW IT WORKS?
After the above introduction, now I feel comfortable to give you my secret recipe for accelerating your sales closing. The secret is already disclosed, which is: the time of “content”, in the sales context, is gone and now we are living in the era of “Engagement”.
The formula is very simple. First and foremost, you have to clearly understand your “Prospect’s” problem and secondly provide a specific and precise solution to that problem. This is what we call a “Perfect Fit”. Of course, in order to understand their problem, you need to “Engage”. The most effective way to “Engage” is to come up with “Questions” that give you valuable information. Using that information, you will come up with a perfect prescription that fixes your “Client’s” problem.
The following three crucial ingredients are required for a successful “Engagement”. Keep in mind that you need all three to accelerate your sales closing. If any one of them is missing, it won’t happen. So here you go:
1. ONE TO ONE EXPERIENCE: You need an exclusive “platform” where your prospects feel comfortable to “Engage” with you. You can utilize any online platform that allows you to seclude your “Prospect” and offer a one to one experience. There should be no distraction whatsoever. Social Media platforms don't serve the purpose as there are many ongoing distractions. Your “Prospect'' should feel that you are fully dedicated with full attention for this particular “Engagement”. You are not distracted with anything else. If we expect their attendance, they also expect our undivided attention. Imagine as if you both are in a private room and having a one to one meeting. It is simply bringing that offline experience online. In simple words, it is an “Online Workspace” for you and your “Prospect”.
I couldn’t find any online solution, to my knowledge, that caters to this specific need. Therefore, we had to custom build our own online platform to do the job. We don’t mind our colleagues in the industry subscribing to it.
The objective of our platform is that once you find your “ideal fit”, you can not afford to lose them. You have to sort through many “Leads” to get to that “ideal one”. You want to “Engage” with that “one” until it closes. You cannot achieve the same with traditional tools such as email, phone calls, texts, etc. All existing tools are sporadic with no consistency. Basically, the “Leads” that are a “good fit” are so valuable and so much have been invested in them, that you can not afford to lose them. You want to “Hug” them and not let them go.
2. CURIOUS CONTENT: You need a very “small” piece of content that raises a question in your “Prospects” mind. This piece of content could be as simple as a sentence or a sophisticated graphically designed poster, as long as it intrigues your “Prospect” to come to your “secluded” online workspace.
This content might be “small” but definitely it is not easy to prepare. You need creativity to understand how to trigger your “Prospect’s” sense of curiosity. This will take a lot of effort from all stakeholders involved in acquiring the “Client”. Therefore, it takes teamwork to make this sophisticated piece of “Art” come to creation. It is like an “ice breaker” for a conversation. Ideally, “Curious Content” is in the form of a “Question” which makes your “Prospect”, unconsciously, say: “But that is exactly my question…”
3. RELEVANT QUESTIONS: Once you have your prospect onboard, with the help of “Curious Content”, now is the time to sharpen your skills and put them at work. You have to raise questions that will intrigue your prospect to answer. Each of those questions asked are valuable and can not be wasted by asking unnecessary or irrelevant questions. It will turn off your “Prospect” and he/she will abandon you.
Now, in order to ask proper and relevant questions, please keep following in mind:
With the above “sales ingredient”, you will definitely perform better than ever. How do I know? I know because this is what today’s “Prospect” is looking for; a specific answer to a specific question. As a result, this will accelerate your sales closings. Did you notice, I did not say: “sales process”, I said “sales closing” intentionally because at the end of the day what matters is results. You already know how to handle your sales process. You need to close. You can only close if you listen to your “Interested Clients”. They want answers now… And you need Questions to get those answers.
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