In a competitive marketplace prospects expect great value from a sales person who is working to earn their business. Though they may vary, all of the characteristics that prospects expect from you are driven by prospects’ need to feel reassured about the future with you and your offering. To provide this reassurance, you should work to demonstrate the following five qualities that prospects expect to see before signing on with you.
Honesty is the backbone of successful sales relationships. Granted, not all prospects anticipate honesty - which makes honesty as a concrete policy so much more effective for sales people who are willing to adopt it. Especially if a prospect is skeptical about the value of an offering, it is important to be honest when working to build value and overcome objections. Be straight with your prospects about what they can expect, and be rewarded with repeat business and referrals.
Expertise builds credibility, both of which prospects look for in a sales person. Prospects must be able to rely on your knowledge and guidance in order to be able to accept your business recommendations. Taking a consultancy approach to sales can help build confidence in your expertise more effectively than other methods you have at your disposal. Act as a consultant for your prospects so that you can begin building value from the beginning of the sales cycle and provide the expertise your prospects expect.
When prospects are drawing close to signing on the dotted line, prospects expect to be able to depend on the sales person on the other side of the table as well as his or her organization. In order to develop dependability in the eyes of your prospects, focusing on certain sales behaviors can be helpful. These include:
- Availability. Making yourself available to a prospect lets the prospect know that he or she is valued, which in turn allows the prospect to view you as dependable.
- Reliability. Prospects expect to be able to rely on you after the sale. Show that you are reliable through honesty, follow up, and demonstrating follow through on any promise or agreement that you make.
- Stability. Work to ensure that your attitude towards the prospect and his or her needs is consistent. Prospects expect to reach the same sales person every time they have a need; make sure that you are fulfilling this expectation by being the best that you can be every time you make contact.
Prospects want to know that you as a sales person are focused on the needs of their organization. Focus is a tactic that top sales people rely on; even if a top sales person is working on executing multiple deals at the same time, each prospect that he or she contacts will be made to feel as if he or she is the only prospect the sales person is concerned about. It’s also important not to forget that prospects expect this focus to extend to their organization’s future needs as well, so whenever possible demonstrate your attention to their short- and long-term concerns, even those the prospect might not yet have thought through.
Although too much follow up can be a danger, prospects expect a certain degree of persistence when a sales person is working to put a mutually agreeable deal on the table. To this end, persistence can be a virtue; prospects rely on a sales person not only to build value, but to make them feel valued. Even if the potential sale value is higher, a hot lead might not be as high priority as a hot prospect who is nearing a close on an opportunity. Always work to ensure that you have adequate time for follow up on prospects who have entered the sales pipeline so that you can fulfill all of your prospects’ expectations.