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Wednesday, 7 October 2020

5 Responses to Sales Objection "It's not a good time to buy"


We've all been there where we've been speaking with a prospect for some time and you have a sense of their goals and challenges - it seems like your offering is a great fit for their business, however, this takes a twist for a turn just when you're ready to set a date for a demo or to talk about price, your prospect responds with this:

"Can we talk about this next quarter? Now's just not a good time for us to buy right now."

Shoot. Not only is this a deal you had in your pipeline, but you've also spent a significant amount of time working with the prospect. Through our experience, we've learned that prospects often use this type of timing objection to stall or to silently reject you.

Sometimes these are valid and real obstacles such as limited resources and budget are stopping the prospect from buying, that's why it's important to always maintain a level of empathy in all communication with the prospects.

How can you solve this issue? The answer is to use timing objection responses, to reach the prospect's sense of hesitation.

Common Sales Objections Related to Timing

  • This is not a good time
  • Call me back next quarter
  • I'll get back to you at a better time
  • We'll think about it
  • I'll have to talk to leadership about this

Examples of how you can respond to a sales rejection

1. If money and resources were no object, would you be willing to start with our product today?

If your prospect responds "no thanks" to your offer you know that they may not be convinced that your product is of value to them. 

2. What's holding you back?

Put yourself in a better position to address their hesitation and work to find a common middle ground that suits both your business and the prospect.

3. When would be a good time to buy?

Maybe your prospect really does have the intention to buy but due to other factors such as budget, resources or other reasons, the decision to buy becomes more complex. Depending on their response to this follow-up question you might be able to adjust your offering to tailor it to their needs now, or follow up in a way that will drive or illicit an intended response such as, "If I call you back next quarter, what circumstances will have changed?"

4. What are your company's other priorities right now?

It's entirely possible that your prospect currently has other pressing projects that need to be completed. If you have the whole picture of how much your offering can really make the difference.

5. How can I help you get the resources you need to sell this to the final decision-maker?

Determine where your prospect is having difficulty gaining traction with the key decision-maker in the team.

Conclusion

It's important to respond to your prospects effectively, tactfully and sympathetically. These days there are an array of reasons why a prospect may try to decide to back out of a deal. Try experimenting with some of the responses above to support these prospects in a way that shows them you're flexible understanding and empathetic. With this winning combination, you are more likely to show your prospects that you care and they will have an increasingly difficult time walking away from the value you provide.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

8 Tips on How to Manage Difficult Customers



Heavy sighs, short replies, reduced patience -- you know when a customer's getting frustrated. Worse the physical signs show that they are losing interest in everything that you are saying and your chance at keeping their business is fading quickly.

Often, difficult or even angry customers are not expressing frustration with you but these emotions are often tied to external situations unrelated to the discussion you are currently having. Often we explain to our salespeople that this is where your great communication skills work the best. Draw on your past experience with people and read the situation tactfully. 

Here's how you can manage difficult customers. 16 tips to help you be the best salesperson.


1. Practice reflective listening.


When you're upset, has someone saying "I understand" ever made you feel any better? Or do you feel "this person doesn't even understand anything!!" instead? 

Alternatively, do this instead. 

Customer: "I'm frustrated because we have a limited budget and you're unwilling to offer us a discount"
Successful salesperson: "So, what I'm hearing is that our pricing is a barrier for your business. Your budget is tight, and I'm not offering a discount that meets your needs. Is that correct?"

If you've understood their frustrations, then move on. If not, say, "Tell me more, so I can better understand." 

Here's a big warning: Never promise you'll fix the situation -- because you might not be able to. Your goal at this moment is to make your customer feel heard and valued.

2. Consider their effect heuristic (mental shortcut)


Effect heuristic is a mental shortcut. Do this to help you make quick. efficient decisions based on how you feel toward the person, place, or situation you're considering. Simply, this means that we are all making decisions and judgments based on each of our own worldviews and experiences. This is our bias.

During these situations, objective facts carry little weight for us instead we rely on the decisions and situations through our own internal beliefs and opinions. This is often influenced based on what we already know.

For example, if your customer consistently asks, "What's the catch?" and delaying the onboarding process with rescheduling and endless due diligence, don't say, "You've already purchased a year's subscription of this software. Can we move forward?"

Instead, ask questions that understand the root cause of their problems. Examples below include:

  • I'd like to understand, tell me more about why you're sceptical
  • What can I do to relieve your fears?
  • How can I help you feel comfortable enough to move forward?

3. Tap into the beginner's mind


Approach every situation as if you were a beginner. Adopting this way of thinking has surprising results. You enter the conversation with the "don't know" mind which keeps you from prejudging a customer or their situation.

This encourages you to instead of saying, "you told me you wanted to increase your inbound lead generation by 20 by end of this month and these delays won't make this possible". This adds to the frustration that the problem has not been solved.

Try saying, "It looks like these delays won't be able to meet our lead generation goal. But let's see what we can do to get the results we're looking for". This approach acknowledges the problem but immediately begins working towards a solution.

4. Let go of fear


First, let go of the idea that you need to fix everything. When sitting down with a difficult customer, your biggest job is to listen, understand and discern what are the next steps -- not to immediately produce a solution.

Instead of apologizing, just jump straight in and say, "It's unfortunate that __ happened. I'm aware of how this is affecting your business and I appreciate your patience as I work to resolve this matter".

5. Chunk the problem


This is the process of taking one big problem and breaking it into several smaller and more manageable parts. These small parts will be easier for you to tackle and will promote everyone involved to be more willing to start dealing with the issues.

6. Anger is only natural


This is only natural. In the heat of the moment, an angry customer can be hard to reason with. Avoid the tendency to justify your position. Instead, understand that they are just feeling undervalued and attempting to control the situation. Take your angry customer's frustration seriously but not personally. The key is to remain calm. Actively listen and confirm that you've understood their frustration and thank them for communicating it and inform them that you will get back to them with a solution. Give them time to cool off, and consult with another senior colleague on the best way forward.

7. Keep calm and carry on


Conflict is part of business, and how you react under this heat impacts your future success and customer relationships.

Do not treat someone with disrespect as this can reflect negatively on you and your company. Ensure that you manage your reputation and that "the customer is always right" still remains true - although to a certain extent. Emotional intelligence can be used to calm the storm, so use these tips for navigating your next conflict:

  • Maintain a calm and professional tone while also remaining assertive.
  • Refrain from name-calling or finger-pointing.
  • Never say or write anything that can be used against you.
  • Always resolve disputes in person or over the phone. Email is not an effective tool for having out disagreements. 

8. Use your support resources


Although this should be used on a case-by-case basis, here are a few resources your reps should learn to master.

  • Place a customer on a strategic hold to buy time or de-escalate emotion.
  • Setting up a screen share or recording troubleshooting steps to explain a complex solution.
  • Asking a colleague for additional confirmation when you know your solution will work -- this can build rapport with a customer who's dubious of your advice.

Conclusion


After a minute or two of actively listening, you'd be surprised that difficult customers can be managed with effective strategies and emotional tactfulness.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

8 Ways on How to Deal with Angry Customers


Customers are human as well and they also feel anger and happiness. Although customers can react angrily towards you, your customers aren't expressing frustration with you. These emotions are very often tied to external situations and psychological stimulus that is beyond your control. The trick is to put your great communication skills to work and draw attention to reading the situation to manage angry customers.

Below are 8 ways about how you can manage and solve angry customers to drive more retention and sales.

1. Remain calm

This is so important and is so easy to get wrong. If a customer sends you an agry email, or starts shouting at you on the phone it's hard not to take that personally. You'll likely instinctively feel a bristle of defensiveness as thoughts pop into your head of how wrong that customer can be, how much hard work has been carried out and you'll start to feel angry very quickly.

Instead, take a second to breathe and process what your customer is actually saying. More often than not you'll notice that in between the angry words that the customer is struggling or frustrated with your product or service, and all they need is somewhere to channel their frustrations.

For example, if a customer calls your support team and is upset about their delivery date. Here's how you can respond. Remain calm and ask the 3 what questions to accurately determine the issue:

  • What is the problem?
  • What is the customer's goals?
  • What are your options?

2. Practice active listening

Pay close attention to the words the customer is saying instead of focusing on the anger behind the words.

For example, let's say a customer walks into your store and says, "Your product stopped working a few days after I purchased it. I'm really surprised how poorly it's designed."

You may tempted to to reply with something like, "I understand your frustration". However, notice how this response only escalates the customers frustrations? Instead demonstrate active listening by using the same language your customer is using. Say something like, "That certainly is surprising! Let's see why your product has stopped working unexpectedly." This response acknowledges the customer's feelings without escalating their emotions.

3. Repeat back what your customers say

A key part of active listening is to make sure that you and your customer are on the same page. This is to better determine what is the root cause of the anger.

For example, you can start by saying, "What I'm hearing is ..." as a start to get the conversation going, and like the previous example, repeat their vocabulary back to them and if possible highlight how the problem is preventing from achieving their goal.

4. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention

When your customer sounds angry and negative about the situation you should thank them for voicing their concerns. You'd be surprised just a simple notion like this can go a long way toward building good rapport with them.

For example, the easiest way to thank your customer is to do it constantly. When the customer begins a service inquiry thank them for reaching out to your team. When you're working on a case and there's a long period of silence thank the customer for "bearing with you as you troubleshoot their case" and when a customer provides you feedback either positive or negative thank them for sharing their perspective and making your support team better.

5. Explain the steps you'll take to solve the problem

Make it clear to the customer what you'll do to get started addressing their concern. Whether it's something simple that you can do over the phone or if you'll need to walk through the process with them. Spell out your next moves. 

6. Set a time to follow-up with them, if needed

Sometimes, problems can't be solved in just one phone call and might require a combined team effort. If this is the case then let the customer know why you can't handle the issue on the phone with them, and give them a timeline of when they can expect to hear from you next.

For example if you need to set up a follow-up time with a customer, the best thing you can do is to explain why the break will benefit them. If the customer is uneasy about this proposal, reassure them by providing a contingency plan. Let them know exactly when you'll reach out next and what information you expect to have by that time.

7. Be sincere

Just as important as remaining calm when dealing with an angry customer, it's important to be since too. Customers can tell when they're being spoken to in a patronizing or equally angry manner. For example, customers will call you with a problem and can sometimes be a user-error and although tempting it is important to remember that this is from the perspective of the customer and it governs the quality and service experience.

8. Highlight the case's priority.

A common frustration for customers is the feeling that their support case isn't important to your business. When your company is dealing with thousands of inquiries each day, some customers feel like their case is expandable and that your team can afford to provide an occasional poor experience. It's important that you remove that feeling by highlighting how important the case is to you. For example, one situation where this is common is when putting customers on hold or asking to follow up with them. 

Conclusion

Often we're forced to put customers on hold or to ask to follow up back with them, and may be interpreted as an excuse for the salesperson driving further anger from customers, but the best way is to justify their actions. All they need to do is to explain how your support process works and why a break is necessary for their case. For example, you can say, "it looks like I need to speak with a product expert about this error. That's going to require me to put you on hold to track them down, but the sooner I do that, the sooner I should have the tools I need to troubleshoot your case."

Monday, 28 September 2020

Top 5 Questions to Ask a Potential Customers about their Pain Points

It's common practice for us to meet a prospect and to spend time with them only to realize that they just didn't buy. This isn't productive and does not contribute to anyone's bottom line.

In actuality selling to people who can't or won't buy are a big dent to your sales productivity, budget and team. Top two-percenters need to spend time only with prospects who need your help, want your help, and are willing to work with you to solve their problems. The most important distinction that you need to make about your prospects include identifying that they have the authority and money to make those decisions. However, one particular item out trumps even those, and it is business pain. 

Examples of Business Pain Points

If your prospects say they are experiencing some employee dissatisfaction and retention issues that are impacting their productivity and hiring, customer churn is impacting their productivity and hiring. Pain is the first thing that top salespeople look for in their prospects.

1. Positioning Pain Points

what company doesn't need to acquire more or better business? What's holding their marketing and positioning efforts back. Here are some examples of what you might hear from psopects who have positioning pains.

  • No one knows who our company is
  • Our competitors are outspending us
  • The market is changing / leaving us behind
  • Until now we haven't considered digital marketing so we're behind

2. Productivity Pain Points

Is there something that is stopping a company and its employees from working efficiently and effectively? Your product or service might be able to help them solve these issues.

3. Financial Pain Points

Money is the biggest topic in business and is the hardest resources to acquire. There is often a lacking of it and the requirement to solve it is also very high. 

  • We're not selling enough to keep the lights on
  • Revenue is up but profitability is low
  • We don't have enough visibility to know if we're making good financial decisions
  • We may be overpaying for equipment and tools, but we don't know what to cut.

4. People Pain Points

People are the heart of every business, and often constitutes the largest expense but is also representative of the company's largest asset class.

  • Employee morale is low
  • We lose our best employees to higher-paying positions elsewhere
  • Our lack of diversity leads to a lack of innovative ideas
  • We can't trust our middle managers to train and motivate our employees

5. Process Pain Points

Operational problems also plague businesses on a day-to-day basis and your prospects know that the best way to achieve repeatable success is by implementing a repeatable process.

  • Our hiring process is unwieldy and we struggle with finding highly qualified candidates
  • Customer churn rate is high because our service department is inundated and can't keep up.
  • We have no system in place to qualify leads
  • There are inconsistencies in each employee's workflow which leads to disorganization and varying performance.

Conclusion

You're losing deals because you often are not addressing the prospect's very specific pain points. Identify these and you will be well on your way to delivering true value to your prospects and closing more sales.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

6 Questions That Will Identify Any Customer's Pain Points

There are many ways to qualify a prospect, however, there are some questions that perform better compared to others. If you want your sales team to be performing at the best of the capacities, 

here are the 8 questions that will help you to unearth some of the business pains which can generate better conversion rates.

1. What's your biggest inhibitor to company (or division) growth?

This cuts straight to the heart of the matter. Every company is in the business of growth so the biggest obstacle to growth is generally a serious pain. Many prospects don't really think about this and your question helps you build credibility and helps you to help your prospects to put this into the frame. Helping prospects talk through their current business situation can increase your understanding of the company while demonstrating your expertise.

  • What's your plan to tackle X Pain
  • When is your deadline to solve this problem?
  • Do you think it'll be easy or hard to solve it?
  • Who in your company is working to fixing this right now?

2. What is your biggest hairball?

This is a whimsical question. We like using this because it has personality, and is fun. More importantly, it'll stir up your prospect's emotion and get straight into their core needs.

This helps you make it more personal because you are asking your prospect how this pain actually affects them

3. What doe your boss obsess about?

You won't always be talking directly with the decision-maker more often than not you'll be speaking to someone 2 or 3 levels directly under them

  • They usually control the budget for buying decisions.
  • A manager's pain usually filters down to her direct reports
  • It signals inexperience

4. What takes up the most time in your day

This is another angle to approach business pain that focuses on your point of contact. Salespeople hear over and over again that buyers care more about value than features, and this question reveals the concrete value of your product that could be useful and helpful to your prospects on a personal level.

5. What's been repeatedly discussed at standup or all-company meetings by senior management?

As mentioned above, business pain isn't two employees complaining there isn't enough coffee in the break room, and it's not something that can be fixed easily. This is the pain that keeps business owners up at night.

6. Why are you not closing deals?

Asking this question might uncover positioning pains, process pains or productivity pains in one of a company's most important departments: the sales department. If you can position your product or service as something that enables sales or marketing teams to acquire more business, you can win over those bottom-line-focused decision-makers.

Conclusion

These questions can give you really good insight into how your prospect's business' operates and what challenges they may be facing, and what kinks in the chain may be prohibiting the growth which they desire. Information about any one of these can open up opportunities for you to close more deals and deliver a chance for you to show how and what solutions your expertise can help to solve.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Top 3 Tips for Addressing Business Pain

Once you identify the pain of your prospect you can determine what are the best ways to solve it for your prospect. This is an incredible tool to leverage on as a salesperson because the minute you can become solution-provider rather than a product-seller your customers will value your service more and closing sales will be very much easier.

Here are the top 3 tips you can implement today to address any of your prospect's business pain.

1. Use your prospect's body language and language when talking and communicating about their pain.

This is a secret technique that can go a long way in building trust with your prospect. Instead of trying to appear impressive by relying on jargon only your colleagues would understand, show your prospect you can take them seriously by using their language and terminology.

2. Find out who's empowered to solve the pain.

Find the economic buyer as quickly as possible. Ask your prospect which budget this purchase would be coming out from and what teams and investments would be needed to be involved in the buying decision. There's little point in spending hours with a person who can't ink a deal.

3. Identify additional key stakeholders as early as possible.

If you're selling to multiple teams and one team has completely differing ideas and priorities than the other you need to know this early so you can mitigate and make the necessary arrangements. Prospects are sometimes worried when they appear less authoritative so the best way to avoid that and to solve this is by asking the following questions:

  • Who besides yourself needs to be involved in this decision?
  • Who else would want to know that we have had this conversation?

Conclusion

Affirm your prospect's involvement while asking for information and it'll be easier to make your pitch meets everybody's requirements.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

The Ultimate Step by Step Email Marketing Guide (for SMEs)


Email marketing is still the most effective channel to direct your digital marketing efforts. It's direct and effective with lead nurturing and is one of the highest converting marketing channels. Mailchimp covers some great industry statistics on email marketing here.

The biggest benefit of investing in an email marketing funnel is the ability for you to sell once but to many. In this guide, we'll take you step by step in setting up your email marketing funnel so that you can acquire leads and generate sales.

What is email marketing?


Email marketing is a strategy which uses email as a way to promote your products and services to prospective customers or to keep in touch with purchasing customers. 


Email marketing keeps the conversation going as converted customers are consistently kept in touch with key marketing topics to nurture and drive interest in your business.

Who is this guide for?



This guide is for you if you have the intention to implement email marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy. Also, this guide is for you if you intend to learn about the time and effort required as you plan to implement an email marketing strategy.

Disclaimer


This guide is long and detailed. You'll walk away with results if you implement and consistently apply the teachings here. To ease your ability to reference, this guide is segmented according to different sections.

What you will gain from this guide?


  1. How to build an email list full of targeted customers.
  2. How to optimise your emails for the highest open rates and click-through rates (CTR).
  3. How to automate the process of nurturing your leads and turning your prospects into customers.

Why choose Email Marketing?



Despite the rise of social media and the negative connotation with email and spam. Email still remains the most effective way to nurture leads and to turn them into customers.

Why Email is great for Sales?


  1. Email is still the world's #1 communication channel. 
  2. You own your customer database. Your Social Media Platform can be suspended at any time without notice.
  3. Email converts better. People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than those who do not receive email offers.

How to Start?


Although email marketing may seem complicated, in essence, but it just covers a few major sections which can be easily broken down into 2 major sections.

  1. Start with your list. 
  2. Add an email service provider.

How to grow your email list?


Growing your list does generally involve an opt-in form on your website. However, just placing an opt-in form on your website and hoping for people to sign-up is a strategy that is sure to fail.


To entice people to sign-up for your email list, you need to attract people with a compelling offer. This can be done through a Lead Magnet. A Lead Magnet is something free that you give away in exchange for someone's email address. Some common examples of Lead Magnets include PDFs, MP3 Audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost.

Some ideas of Lead Magnets are:

  • eBooks
  • Cheat Sheet with Tips and/or Resources
  • White Papers or Case Studies
  • A Webinar
  • Free Trials or Samples
  • A Free Quote or Consultation
  • Quizzes or a Self-Assessment
  • A Coupon

How to create an Opt-in Form which converts?


An opt-in form isn't just any boring old form. Its main purpose is to convey the big benefit of your Lead Magnet.

Here's how you can create an opt-in form which converts:

  1. Enticing Headline: Make sure your headline is attractive and clearly describes the big benefit of your Lead Magnet. 
  2. Write a helpful description: A short and brief description is clear and to the point. Use bullet points to help the reader's eye quickly scan what they will get.
  3. Attractive visuals.
  4. Construct a simple opt-in form.
  5. An easy to understand button.

Some places where you can place your opt-in form for maximum results are:

  • Floating bar
  • Your website's header
  • Blog archive page
  • Within your blog posts
  • Your sidebar
  • In a scroll box
  • Your footer
  • Your about page
  • Resource Pages
  • Email Signature

Choosing an Email Marketing Service


To email anyone you need their permission. If you started with an opt-in, usually this includes a permission intent. This is what makes opt-in email marketing great. 

OptinMonster


Constant Contact


sendinblue


Drip


AWeber


ConvertKit


Mailchimp


Personalise your marketing with Email List Segmentation


This is done by all marketing experts and is a process of identifying groups of your subscribers based on smaller interest or criteria for the purposes of sending them more personalised and relevant emails. For example, you wouldn't send father's day promotions to a teenager.

Segmenting your email list is proven to increase your email open rates, and decrease your unsubscribe rates. There are many ways to segment your email list into segments, and to get you started here are a few ways you can organise your segments for your email list:

  • New subscribers: You can send a welcome email series
  • Preferences: Based on what type of content they are interested to receive (eg.: marketing, promotions, etc.)
  • Interests: Based on interests (eg.: pop music vs. rock music)
  • Location: based on where your subscribers are located to share a local event happening near them.
  • Open Rate: Reward customers who are more engaged with a special offer
  • Inactivity: A reminder or a new promotion to entice further engagement.
  • Lead Magnet: Send targeted emails depending on which Lead Magnet has attracted them.

Take time to spring clean your email list


It is important to email your subscribers on a consistent basis, so your list doesn't go stale. Even then, over time, email subscribers will go stale. This can be for various reasons but the most common reasons are a change of email accounts or they are generally not interested in your brand anymore. To keep your list fresh and active, it is advised to remove inactive subscribers periodically.

Write to Just One Person


When you draft your email subject line and message content, it's natural to think of the many thousands if not millions of people who are about to receive it. However, remember the recipient is only receiving an email from you. Thus, it is far more effective to write as though you are writing to one person with a highly personal subject line and a personalised message. To write this way you'll have to really know your buyer persona. You need to understand their problems, their desires, their values, their likes and their dislikes.

Inject some humour



Humour has a way of making a strong, instant connection with people. It's personal, entertaining and stands out in people's minds. It isn't really that hard, all you need to think outside the box.

Conclusion


You should absolutely be sending emails. Even if it is just an email newsletter. More than 83% of business-to-business marketers send email newsletters as part of their content marketing strategy. Email marketing is a very cost-effective way for brands to communicate with their customers and email is an essential piece in any marketing strategy.