It’s amazing how forgetting just one detail, one part of the overall process, can change an outcome. Take cooking, for example. We have successfully followed the same great recipe again and again, but this time the sauce just isn’t right. What could we have done wrong? Of course! It needs to be puréed in the food processor before serving.
In sales, too, leaving out key steps (even small ones) can lower our hit rates. Even seasoned pros can go through unexpected slumps by overlooking familiar steps the process.
These five tactics are like major bones of good sales practice. And if any are missing, the whole process could start to sag.
1.) Follow this don’t/do principle on prospecting calls:
Don’t launch into all the selling details until you’re face to face.
Do convey how the prospect will be better off after meeting with you:
- I can give you some names of other [landscapers, etc.] that we’ve helped and are very happy they changed to our agency.
- Let’s get together so we can see if you qualify for this industry program…[Scarcity induces motivation]
- I can discuss the benefits point by point so you can compare with your current insurance and see how much more you’ll get and why it’s worth switching for….
2.) Make sure they know why you’re different
One way or another you want to establish your unique ability to provide the best solution for that prospect. Here’s one way to make that case when you’re offering a specialized program: “Most agents in our industry represent pretty much the same carriers, so I understand why you haven’t seen improvements when you’ve compared in the past. In this case, though, we do have a special program that most agents don’t have and the [landscapers] we meet with are blown away by the difference in value.”
3.) Wherever you are in the process, don’t leave the next step to chance
After your initial meeting with a prospect, make sure you agree on a date and time for your next meeting or follow-up call. People get busy and caught up in other stuff. By firmly agreeing on the next step before you leave the meeting or end the call, you strengthen the reasons for staying connected and lessen the chance the prospect will “go dark.”
4.) Always follow through
Send a confirming email after scheduling an appointment. Doing that not only firms up the meeting date and time and conveys your professionalism, but it gives you a chance to mention some of the reasons the prospect was wise to agree to meet with you and some of the ways you’ve successfully helped others in the same business class or situation.
5.) Learn something about the prospect and their operation before you show up
Some agents will spend time doing this even before including them on their list of qualified “suspects”; before reaching out to see if they’re even open to a meeting. Gaining some insight about the business culture – how they present themselves to their own customers and prospective customers; how they see their history, mission, goals, and their place in their industry – lets you relate more personally and makes you more attuned to the people you’re meeting with.