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Make Leads Want To Be Sold To

Date - 01 July 2016/ Category - How To Sell
How to sell

One of the many roles I’ve had in the past involved saving a failing call centre. This call centre was staffed to the eye balls with people and the expensive things that come with that.

Rather unbelievably this call centre was being run by people who didn’t actually have a clue what they were doing. They gave people working on the phones Mercedes C-Classes and had a phone system that didn’t track calls.

But that’s not the point of this chapter, the point is something I learnt while repairing this business.

After doing some extensive call listening there were a few major things I wanted to do to rapidly change the fortunes of this business.

1. Tell people it will get worse before it gets better – this is a fact of life. If you’re trying to save something then the results often will go the wrong way as you start to effect change.
2. You should only measure what you can manage – people love creating stats and reports for no reason other than to prove their own view point, this is not conducive to improving.
3. Company acronyms are the devil – there’s a huge danger that the words we all know and love because we use them, we assume our customers know too. Don’t do it.
4. Great leads might not want to buy now – people think a lead is someone that wants a car but that negates the fact that people might want a new car just not quite yet.

What was happening was that the leads themselves were being called relatively quickly but the introduction they got from the sales people was confusing at best. Their sales teams had been trained to say things like “Hi, it’s John, I work for John Co and I’m responding to your online illustration submission for a telephone number”.

Now to the sales person that was great, it said who they were and why they were calling but what they forgot was that it only made sense to them.

You see the customer doesn’t care who they are, all they care about is why they are calling and these leads had all signed up for mobile phones.

So basically they got a call out of the blue, from a company they didn’t recognise about buying a phone number which wasn’t what they actually wanted! It all seems so simple when written down like this but simple mistakes like assuming the client knows what you’re talking about or referring to them with language and terms only you use are made up and down the country.

Add to this then the fact that the call centre had no plan for only selling to people when they wanted and they had precisely zero sales on the board.

What was happening was they were calling good leads up and fluffing the first 20 seconds which meant the lead was now on the back foot and pretty suspicious of them. Next they would launch into some basic qualifying that made it sound like they were trying to steal their pin code.

Now on paper this intro and qualification would seem like a natural thing to do, but if you get the language wrong you’re basically setting yourself up to fail and you’ve not even got to the important bit yet.

There’s a critical difference between leads that want to be sold to and ones that don’t. Warm lead, those that have come in via submissions from potential clients want to be sold to and this infinitely helps conversion rates.

Yet there are entire industries dedicated to turning cold leads, people who don’t want to be sold to, into customers. Yet here in lies the problem, most of these cold calling centres don’t ask if someone wants to be sold to.

They get the client on the phone and push them into having a conversation. Ok with cold calling most people would put the phone down given the opportunity, but the key is to be subtle about how you control the call.

You see starting with a confusing introduction and then listing off reams of information without engaging in a two way conversation is never going to get you a sale, yet because sales is an art form that offers very few qualifications other than opinion pieces the same mistakes get made up and down the country.

In order to make the sales of this call centre much easier, I did the following:

1. A good intro
2. Tell the customer the problem they have and how they currently solve it – this makes you sound like an expert and build trust.
3. Create a burning platform around the current solution – show them why they need to change their current solution
4. Ask them if they would be interested in hearing about your platform

Now point 4 was the most interesting part. It was at this point that we changed the sales person. In essence we put “hot leads” that said yes over to another sales team. This sales team were pitched as experts.

What we had done was change the conversation completely, we’d gone from talking to someone who didn’t want to be sold to, to selling to someone who had asked to be sold to and the end result was a 600% increase in sales.

The above seems pretty simple, and in truth it is. All we had to do was get the lead to say “sell to me”, but in order to get there we had to make sure our ducks were in order.

So many people go in for the hard sell and fall short of the sale because they don’t do this; don’t make the same mistake.

Chapter Summary:

• Just because someone is your perfect customer doesn’t mean they want to buy right now
• You shouldn’t just gauge if this is the right client for you, but when they will be ready to buy
• Your marketing and pitch should be geared to help push them towards needing your product right now
• Sometimes that means not pushing for the sale straight away but instead ensuring you’re their first port of call
• It’s much easier to sell to someone who wants to be sold to – cold call pitches should be designed to get their buy in, not to push the hard sell

Read our next blog post “Beat the short term relationship trend”.