Depending on the industry you are in, it can be difficult to close sales during the first round of meetings and proposals. While you and your sales team should always be striving for a high closing rate, the reality is that sometimes it simply isn’t possible.
Following up with these unclosed deals is a crucial part of long-term sales success. However, it can often be a delicate process that must be treated gently so you don’t lose the lead completely. The following are a few selling strategies that should help increase your overall success rate and sales productivity metrics.
Effective sales follow-up
Follow-up is extremely important in relationship building and in the sales process – even after you have lost the deal! Consider your discussions and meetings as the initial engagement of a long-term customer relationship. Find ways to provide value to the lead even though you did not win the sale. Thank them for the time and energy that they afforded you and with each contact that you make provide them informative information, news of innovation or value to consider and even risks that they may not be aware of.
Develop a contact plan so that you are consistent in your follow-up with each lead and to ensure that you deliver the same level of value to them. Consider mechanizing this in your CRM system or marketing platform and entice them with varied calls to action. If your goal is to provide value there is a high likelihood that you will be considered in the future. (Check out 5 Tips to Building Your Client Relationships)
Don’t mistake “not ready” for “not interested”
Effective selling is often a ‘high-pressure’ activity for sales reps, and this often leads to the mistaken belief that buyers are on the same timeframe that the rep expects. The truth of the matter is that it is rare for a particular lead to be ready to buy right at the exact moment that your sales team contacts them. While an effective sales meeting can help sway someone on the fence, many times even qualified leads simply won’t be willing or able to buy right away.
In order to prevent leads that are not ready but interested from being forgotten, it is important for your sales team to conduct a thorough discovery process to determine the actual intentions of the lead. There are plenty of reasons why an interested buyer might not want to purchase immediately, but will be more interested next month or quarter. Make sure everyone on your sales team understands the importance of differentiating between “not ready” and “not interested” so you can follow-up at the proper time with the qualified leads that will be more willing to close a deal at some point in the future.
Help your sales team be disruptive
More and more buyers are becoming difficult to reach, particularly after they have decided not to use your organization for the first time. It is important that you have a program to help your sales team disrupt the buyer’s framework so that they become more open to re-engagement. Challenge them with opportunities that they may not be aware of, risks that they may have overlooked and industry news that may impact their key business strategies. This approach will also position you as a potential supplier of value beyond just your product and service offering and you will be respected as trusted advisor.
This approach will not only help you be successful with leads that you did not close but is a good blueprint for relationship building to ensure that your sales team becomes more productive and effective.
Want to learn more? Read these other great blog posts:
- 3 Ways to Boost Sales Effectiveness
- Creating Dynamic Sales Proposals that Increase Sales
- Lead Nurturing Dos and Donts