It's very important to establish a great sales relationship with your lead in your initial conversation. After all, a first conversation can leave a lasting impression. Leaving a strong impression over the phone is much different than in person (Inc.com did a great job with tips on leaving a lasting impression in person). How exactly does one leave a lasting impression over the phone?
Start The Sales Relationship With An Appreciative & Welcoming Tone
Each sales person has their own strategy. However, what we've seen work at Map My Customers is to create an appreciative and welcoming tone by:
- Thanking your lead for taking the time to talk with you or for showing interest in your product
- Asking your lead to tell you more about his or her day and any struggles they may face throughout the day
After thanking them, you could say something like:
"I wanted to make myself available for you as a resource for any questions you may have as well as learn a bit more about you and what made you interested in our product."
By setting up a welcoming and receptive tone to the conversation, you're making it known that you are there to answer questions & listen--not sell. HubSpot seems to agree with this approach and even provides you with great guidance on how to create a warm conversation. Offering to answer questions also adds credibility to you and the company because you are establishing yourself as an expert and a resource. This transition into the conversation will likely provide you with the knowledge necessary to qualify the lead, making it easier to know whether or not to move forward with the sales relationship.
A Great Sales Relationship Starts With Understanding The Pain Points
Chances are that by opening with the appreciative and welcoming strategy, the person you're talking to will run you through their day-to-day. From that bit of conversation, you will understand the pain points this individual faces and will be able to judge whether or not the solution you offer is a great fit. Heck, you could even share knowledge (unrelated to your company/product) and help them out!
From here, you'll need to judge on whether or not the lead is a good fit. If the lead is not a great fit, that's totally fine. Provide an adequate response that leads to you ending the call smoothly. Don't forget to thank them for their time. If the lead seems like a great fit, continue the conversation and briefly talk about how your product can help with their biggest pain point(s). Again, it is important to be brief at this stage of the relationship (unless the lead asks for more information) and avoid any hard selling. To be honest, you were probably lucky to catch this person in a free moment of a busy day. This person is probably not ready to buy. Rather, use this time and knowledge as an opportunity to schedule a very tailored follow-up phone call or product demo. That way, there are expectations set that the lead will be prepared with questions and will have seriously considered purchasing.
Following Up With The Lead Helps Reinforce The Sales Relationship
Follow-ups are just as important as the first impression. It may take 5-8 attempts to get this person on the line again! Don't assume they stopped being interested. They're just as busy as you. Structuring an effective follow-up process that helps the sales relationship is very important. Make sure you take the time to do this.
To recap, remember to:
- Thank the person you're talking to
- Set a welcoming tone to the conversation
- Not go into full sales mode (yet)
- Set a follow-up meeting/next steps
Adding these steps into your sales relationship process will likely help you in having more engaging conversations and better qualifying your leads. It's also very important to have a way to manage the relationships you are having with your lead. Read this great blog post on why CRMs matter to understand how to leverage this tool to manage customer relationships.