For the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about the perils and plunders of customer service. But today, I want to explore another large facet of DreamCSX’s expertise… that of selling. Specifically prospecting and “filling the top of the funnel”.
For those who begin work in sales, there’s a long standing air of derision around entry level sales. It’s the bottom rung of the ladder. The lowest commission probability. The sink or swim methodology made into a reality show of metrics and potential prat-falls. But I assure you: ask any great salesperson worth their salt, and they’ll tell you that prospecting correctly is the most potent and powerful tool in sales.
Not to fly off on an tangent before we even get to the meat of matter mind you… but I can hear the pushback already. “But what about brand identity? Marketing? Networking?” Well, all of those things are great tools to draw attention and people to your business, or help seat your company at the table of their prospective purchasing. But it’s going to be that actual face-to-face interaction (or voice to voice, or email to email, what-have-you) that will move that prospect from a loose feather floating in the wind into a tangible client who could represent years of potential business and an evangelical level of referrals.
Alec Baldwin’s famous speech in Glengarry Glen Ross (You know the one. “You like this watch?”) seems the hungry ideology every bullpen needs to succeed. A vicious bowl of sharks all attacking each lead with guile, cunning, and savagery mustered until they yield, and relent.
But that’s a movie. It’s not how it’s actually done well in 2018.
Today’s consumer – be it B2C or B2B – comes in the front door with a wealth of knowledge never comparable before in commerce. Thanks to the power of the internet, every business is in competition with every similar business around the world. When you’ve got a prospect on the line, they want to be sold… through a combination of empathy, intelligence, authority, and frugality. In other words? They want you to make them not only feel like you care, but that you’re selling with the conviction of a top provider, all while meeting their bottom line expectations. And whatever your business chooses to denote as what separates itself from the herd – be it through superior customer service, unmatched technology, the best price available, or incomparable features – is being expertly introduced to them by someone who can convey it all while caring.
The thought that carries me through this new way of thinking about your sales efforts, is to think about the chivalry of opening a door. When you open a door for someone else (be they a date, a friend, a client, or even your dog), you’re communicating a litany of ideals. The simple act represents: 1. humility, putting their needs before your own; 2. competency, your willingness to lead them towards their intended direction; and 3. authority, showing your strength to allow them freedom to pass unencumbered. Now, apply that ideology to that very base-layer of sales in your own business.
With that very first interaction… how are you opening the door? Are you putting the needs of your potential client before your own? Simply look at how you measure those initial calls. Is it a meat grinder meant to rattle off a script, get to the call-to-action, demand reaction, rinse and repeat? How are you showing your competency? Are you providing prospects with useful information that allows them to dive further down your funnel on their own, or are you simply casting the widest net possible and counting on volume to even the odds? And lastly… how are you showing authority? If the tenant of authority unencumbers your prospect, how are you effectively communicating it? Every purchase we make – be it a product or service – is ultimately fulfilling a need. When you don’t focus on that need with your customer… you effectively close the door on the potential and opportunity.
And if you want to win that Cadillac El Dorado instead of those steak knives… you can’t do it if you’re not opening the door.