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Thursday, 19 November 2020

5 Questions That Can Identify a Customer's Pain Points


As you're performing sales qualification with a prospect, here are 5 questions to help you discover some of the pains that can create a great conversation with your prospects:

1. What's the biggest hindrance to your customers' growth?

This is a classic. It cuts right to the chase and goes right to the heart of the matter. Every customer is in the customer of growth and the biggest obstacle to it is a serious pain.

Here are some great ways you can get to the meat of the conversation quickly:

  1. What's your plan to tackle this?
  2. When is your deadline to solve this problem?
  3. Do you think it'll be easy or hard to solve this problem?
  4. Who is your customer is working to fix this right now?

These questions although simple in its outlook has many layers of complexity to it and will blow any conversation with the prospect wide open.

2. What is your biggest problem?

This is a more fun question. This is a casual question and has its own personality, is funny and creates unusual chaos. It acts to stir up emotion and gets to your prospect's core needs.

3. What does your boss obsess about?

When doing sales you don't always speak to the top and sometimes you will have to manage with someone who is 2 or 3 levels below them.

  1. They usually control the budget for B2B
  2. A manager usually filters down to her direct reports
  3. This signals inexperience. 

4. What takes up the most time in your day?

This focuses on your direct point of contact and you can help them to focus more about the value than the features.

5. What's been repeatedly discussed at company meetings by senior management?

  1. This focuses on what keeps the CEO up at night. It has to be addressed for the company for them to continue operating at full capacity. Some examples include:
  2. What do senior managers put on their quarterly planning agendas?
  3. What do they talk about all the time?
  4. What do they send all-company emails about?

These are the customer pains you are looking for and could be life changing for your sales objectives and target.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

6 Tips on How (Not) to Send a Cold Email for Sales


If you have a targeted lead list and your response rate is less than 10%, your sales approach through email could use some work. Let's dig into what was wrong with their previous approach by touching on some of the reasons why emails actually fail.

1. Too Many Ideas

You might have an amazing product, but if you highlight too many value propositions in your emails, you'll confuse readers. After all, a common sales saying goes, "A confused mind always rejects an idea before even considering it".

Stick to one idea. Simplicity works surprisingly well and all of the copy you write should support that one idea. Whether you're piquing their interest, adding value, making a persuasive claim, or providing proof to support your claims, you should always stick to one idea.

Here's what you need to watch out for and remove if you can:

  • Multiple themes in the email
  • Claims which are not relevant to your main point
  • More than one call to action

2. Too Long

Your readers don't want to read a thesis on email if they already don't know who you are. First, provide them with instant value and establish trust. This is super important because you have to do this first before you can earn their attention.

This to look out for are:

  • Irrelevant information
  • Boasting or making claims that aren't ground in fact
  • Asking the reader to do too many things

Structure your sales email in a way that is clear and concise. Make sure it communicates the following:

  • Value you add
  • Offer you're making
  • Proof which supports it
  • The action you want your readers to take

3. Too Self-Centered


Nobody ever likes the person who only talks about "me me me". Don't let your email talk too much about why you're awesome, especially if you're reaching out cold for the first time.

What to watch out for:

  • A lack of language around your reader's problems
  • Copy that focuses on features rather than benefits which could help your readers solve a problem which they are currently facing.

4. Too Fancy


Overly complicated and fancy email templates can make your emails seem impersonal and spammy. No one thinks they're getting a personal email if it's too pretty.

What to watch out for:
  • Time on visual collateral rather than copy
  • A generic language that reads as though it could apply to anyone
  • A lack of segmentation in the email list

5. Too Soft


This is a fair balance between being assertive and being too soft. If a reader doesn't know you then they know they're probably being sold to. Soft language just beats around the bush and undercuts your message.

Phrases to avoid are:
  • You don't know me, but
  • Whenever you have a second
  • I know your time is valuable, but
  • Would it make sense for us to chat?
  • Sorry to bother you..

6. Too Robotic


It's a mistake not to include a human element to your emails. Cold, rigid emails that do nothing but harp on generic marketing points is a surefire way to turn readers off.

Watch out for language like:
  • To whom it may concern
  • Thanks in advance
  • I guarantee that this product will...

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Ultimate Guide to Soft Selling for Salespeople


This is the biggest shift in the sales pitch and the role of the salesperson in today's day and age. It's even more so to put yourself in the position of a prospect. If one salesperson sends you a canned email asking for a 5-minute call, compared to someone who actually sends you a personalized email, and, after learning a little more about your business needs, asks for a demo. They take time to work with you to create a pitch that would match your company's goals, and, after due diligence, they work with you to ask for a close that meets your budget and your team needs.

It goes without saying that you would be more likely to choose the later salesperson.

The first salesperson is very familiar to us all, the hard-selling direct selling salesperson. Soft selling is the new sales wave where a salesperson does not just ask for a straightforward sale in an effort to close as quickly as possible but instead prioritizes a different strategy where the focus is on the quality of the relationship with the prospects.

What is Soft Sell

Soft selling is a sales approach focused on the subtle persuasion with the use of casual language, which intentionally intends to create a low-pressure sales experience for the prospect that is less likely to turn them off from excessive pushiness.

It is important to note that soft sell is not "passive" selling. Soft selling still requires a degree of persistency throughout the sales process and knowledgeable about the product or service. Additionally, persistence and product knowledge must be balanced with reliability for the prospect, all while keeping a conversational tone to help buyers feel comfortable and at ease throughout the process.

Here's a walkthrough on the 6 ways you can use to facilitate a soft sell with your prospects.

1. Do your research.

First, learn as much as you can about the prospect's current challenges and point of view. This will help you to determine if the product or service you're offering is a good fit and will enable you to make the best recommendation possible.

2. Be personable.

While you always want to remain professional when working with prospects, you don't want to be stiff or over-the-top in your communication. When making the soft sell approach, personality goes a long way.

For example:

Formal - "Hi Lee, this is Nicholas from EVERWORKS. Today I will be sharing our key product features with you."

Conversational - "Hi Lee, this is Nicholas from EVERWORKS. Before I dive into telling you about our products, can you tell me more about how your company is currently sourcing your office furniture? What is and isn't working about your current setup?"

3. Focus on relationship-building.

This is ever critical to closing the sale and establishing loyalty. When you take the time to get to know your prospects and are seen as a trusted advisor, your prospect will be more primed to purchase.

This could be as simple as remembering to ask how their day was, or following on a personal anecdote they mentioned in a prior meeting. This shows genuine interest in the prospect on a human level.

4. Actively listen.

Improve your active listening skills by engaging in the following steps:

  1. Truly listen to what your prospect shares with you.
  2. Repeat content back to the prospect.
  3. Ensure you are understanding them correctly by asking for clarification and getting verbal agreement from the prospect after repeating content back.

5. Ask thoughtful questions.

When you ask relevant, open-ended questions to your prospect it shows your genuine interest in helping them to solve their problem.

6. Provide value without asking for the sale.

This is the biggest go and is the biggest factor in today's day and age. When you have provided them with a good experience - even if it doesn't immediately result in the sale. Ultimately, you want to show your prospect that they're top of mind.

Effectively salespersons know how to assess what sales approach to use to best engage with their prospects. Salespersons also know the importance of having a reliable online infrastructure to support the tools they need to conduct effective sales. Learn more at everworks.com

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.