Not all prospective customers are at the same stage of the decision-making process when you encounter them. Some prospects you direct your marketing message at may not even be aware of the issues that your services or products solve.
You may be talking to prospects who are still in the analysis phase, meaning they are aware of the problem and are actively looking for information. They are nearing a decision on what to purchase and who to deal with. At the latter stages of the decision-making process the prospect has completed the majority of their analysis and is keen and open to your marketing message.
To improve sales performance you need to become a teacher of sorts, educating your “students” in what their issues are and how you are able to solve them.
Let’s look at your prospect who is at the very start of the sales process. These prospects aren’t even aware that they have a problem, so attempting to sell to these individuals is pretty much a waste of time. They may listen to your message politely and then decide it’s not for them. The problem that your services or products solves has not become painful for them in their awareness, as yet.
Your sales process should cater for educating and informing your prospect of the issue and how it may impact them, now or in the future.
Of course, once you have highlighted the issue or problem, you also explain the upside for them in solving this problem. You would focus on how this is going to improve their lifestyle, business, health, looks or social standing depending on your value proposition.
You want to make clear that resolving their issue or problem has benefits that far outweigh any price you may ask for your products or services. Let them know of the consequences of doing nothing.
When your prospects are aware of their issue or problem, and the benefits of solving it, you need to introduce your solution. Step them through what it entails as far as activities that you will perform and any tasks required on their part to achieve success.
If you have a physical product you may conduct a demonstration, engaging the prospect and showing how your product solves the problem they are now aware of. If your offering is a service, make it tangible by packaging and stacking your services to create a “product” that they can understand.
Utilizing well structured testimonials that focus on how you have solved the problem for others is also very powerful. The education of your prospective customers should be an ongoing process.
You can employ email, newsletters, phone calls, Skype or brief meetings to keep in touch and build the relationship, whilst educating the prospect about your services. Staying in touch and following up with the prospect allows for you to be front of mind when they do eventually decide to purchase.
Whether your prospect is keen to do business right now, or at some stage in the future, always have an offer or offers ready to present. Your offer should be crafted to be flexible depending on the prospect, and where they are in the sales process.
Don’t be afraid to make offers, after all, this is the way business is done. But don’t make an offer before you have educated and informed your prospect as to why they need your solution, and the benefits they will experience.