Just like most MSPs, our firm likes to take note of the things salespeople are doing well. We also like to advise them on best practices. The process of sales is to sell, but to do that we must establish a relationship with the prospect. Here are five things that sales reps should stop doing to drive deeper conversations and relationships.
1. Stop using Excel and Word for proposals. There is no need to cut and paste from older proposals to prepare a document for a new prospect. It leaves room for errors. Moreover, a proposal should be a record of conversations with the prospect reflected in a clear, concise way. With tools such as QuoteWerks you can reduce the time spent preparing a quote and proposal and deliver a professional-looking document every time.
2. Stop thinking the prospect is ready for your meeting. When you arrive at the prospect’s office, the person you are meeting with has likely just finished another important meeting. It will take the person time to refocus and recall the details of your visit. So when you start the meeting, state its purpose. For example, “The purposeof our meeting is to understand why you chose to meet with us today and learn about your areas of concern.”
Follow that with your goal for the meeting, such as, “What I think we will gain from this next 45 minutes is an understanding of the issues your organization is facing and your expectations for deriving solutions. How does that sound?" This provides alignment and enables the prospect to get ready for the discussion.
3. Stop focusing on your company. You are passionate about your company, which is great. However, you are there to drive the best, most productive conversations. So start listening. When high-performing salespeople hear themselves talking about their own companies, they are usually the first to say, “You know what? Let’s focus on a few areas of your business that might be of concern.” Remember, you are meeting to learn about the prospect and his or her company with respect for your time together.
4. Stop sending emails with a subject of “Thank You” or “Following Up.” Building a relationship with your prospect and appreciating the time you spent discussing the business’s requirements are crucial. But email does not drive an emotional response. Instead, use blank thank-you cards and handwrite a note. It will make a lasting impression and connect you more closely to the prospect for future conversations. If you must send an email, ensure that you recap the meeting and the owner’s key requirements.
5. Stop the information overload. Our job as salespeople is to share our white papers, blog posts, and so on with our clients. However, our habit is to email a link or a PDF to a prospect and say, “Check this out.” Go ahead and send the link or PDF, but do the work for your prospect. If it is truly something the person should read, say, “I know you have limited time, but I thought this might provide clarification on the conversation we had. Take note of paragraph 7.”
Tweaking just a few behaviors can have a big impact on the outcome of your sales efforts.