Isn’t it frustrating? You’re at a networking event and you’re having an amazing conversation with a potential customer. They’re saying the right things, they’re nodding in the right places — they’re genuinely interested.
The weeks go by and still you haven’t sealed the deal. So, what went wrong? You start to wonder whether you misread the signals or maybe your pitch wasn’t as strong as you initially thought.
The chances are your lead simply isn’t sales-ready. They aren’t far enough along the buying cycle to commit. As many as 73% of B2B leads aren’t sales-ready and, for some of these leads, it can take up to 20 points of contact before they get to the stage where they’re ready to buy. That’ll take time.
It can be hard not to get disheartened, particularly when you’re bombarded by news of other companies who claim that you can make £10,000 in your first month of business or you hear stories of entrepreneurs enjoying miraculous, overnight success.
It’s important to remember though, that these people are exaggerating – or they’re the exception to the rule. For the rest of us, making sales is a story of the two Ps:
Patience and Perseverance
The sales process can be a long game — it’s all about building relationships. And building solid relationships takes time.
So, how do you do this? How do you help your lead move further along the buying cycle? You need to come up with a strategy that allows you to keep the momentum going without turning into a stalker!
Set clear expectations
If your prospect is expecting you to get in touch, your follow-up call won’t be seen as an annoyance. Make sure you set clear expectations of how your relationship will develop.
If you’re having a great meeting and things seem to be going well, don’t just end with a vague “we’ll catch up soon”. Give your lead a more concrete idea of what happens next. Tell them that you’ll be in touch by next Wednesday or that you’ll send them an info package later that day and then follow up after a week.
You’re probably all familiar with the phrase “people buy people”. It’s true! You could have the most exciting product in the world but if your prospects don’t click with you, you have very little chance of bringing them on board.
This is why working on building rapport with your leads is so important.
Being warm and friendly, listening at least as much as you talk, and learning how to read other people’s body language and cues are just some of the things you can do to start building a rapport with potential customers. (More tips on rapport building here.)
Asking open questions
Learning how to ask open questions is a sure-fire way to help you nurture your leads (more about this here). Use this skill to find out about your prospects — get to know their business, their goals and the obstacles that are standing in the way of these goals. Once you know this, you’ll know exactly how you can help them overcome these challenges and find success.
Show them that you’re the one who can help them hit their business targets and you’ll be ready to make that sale.
Remember, just because someone isn’t quite ready for a sales pitch now, doesn’t mean they won’t be ready further down the road. Remember the two Ps: patience and perseverance!
Until next time,