Hello everyone – welcome to today’s Digitize Your Firm webinar on sales in the digital age! My name is Alex Wickwire, Associate Director of Education Solution here at SimplyCast. I’d like to start by saying that sales is a very unique area of business. I’m going to be going over tactics and approaches I have found helpful when reaching out to potential leads, but all sales verticals are not created equally. If you’re looking to refresh your sales strategy, try taking different ideas or recommendations and adding them to your regular strategy and try different tactics.
For anyone joining us who is a sales pro or anyone who is looking to gain some additional insights, simply click the green speech bubble at the top of the screen to open the chat and either type out your comment or ask to speak.
As with all Digitize Your Firm webinars, this will be recorded for later playback in case you wanted extra time with a certain section or for listening on the go. If you haven’t already, visit the Weekly Webinar Schedule on our Digitize Your Firm page to check out our past webinars.
Now, let’s go over today’s agenda.
We’ll first start off by talking about digital reconnaissance, otherwise known as a pre-call research. After that, we’ll talk about making an effective phone call using digital resources, then finish with tips on ‘closing the deal’ as it were. As with all of our webinars, we’ll do the wrap-up, let you know next week’s topic and answer any additional questions.
So let’s start off with our first topics.
The first rule any seller learns is that you should know the client before reaching out. Having a good idea of their existing services, products, resources, and the industry they serve is a key to success. Before you make a phone call, take the time to research their organization. Look at their website and find information on the company’s mission, goals, latest press releases, and even organizational plans if they make them available.
Depending on what you are trying to sell them, it is also good to find out how your product or service may benefit them if they already have one in place. Say you’re a digital marketing company looking to provide content creation and management for other business’s social media. You may check out their Facebook and Twitter page, if they have one, and note anything that may be missing. Perhaps they only post once a week, when posting daily may help. If they don’t have any social media channels you can find, you could make the call with the intent to convince them to help you open their pages for them.
Don’t forget that knowing who you’ll be speaking to, or who you’re trying to speak to, can be a great advantage. Try to find the person on LinkedIn and note their past experiences or any information you feel may be helpful should it be available. If you discover that you both went to the same university, it could be a great starting point to develop small talk. You may also discover that you know someone who could introduce you to him.
All of this should be kept in your organization’s customer relationship manager, or CRM. If you recall from our June 13 webinar, CRMs are powerful tools that can help you keep track of leads, provide insight on active conversations, and more. It is an invaluable resource to any salesperson.
Finally – it may help to Now comes what many consider to be create a sales checklist. Plenty of sales vets have a pre-call checklist they roll through before even picking up the phone. You’ve just gotta know your prospects.
the tricky part – performing outreach to get in contact and open a dialogue with a potential client. The field of dreams “if you build it they will come” may work for baseball playing ghouls but not for small businesses. The ideal method of selling your product is truly known by you alone. Cold calling is unavoidable in my opinion. There are plenty of services out there that claim otherwise, but from my personal experience and from what I have learned from those who’ve mentored me… you need to use the phone to make business happen.
Approach can be done a few ways and it’s only you, the business person, that can choose the one that works for you. Three methods that are effective include the benefits pitch, the feedback request, and the industry specific time-sensitive offering.
The Benefits Pitch is fairly straight forward – it is when you call your lead and inform them of the benefits of your product or service, and how it can help them. While this pitch is more traditional, it can yield results if you’ve done your research and can be bring examples of ways your offering can improve their business.
Next is the Feedback Request. A personal favorite of mine as it is a less aggressive way to gain interest in your offering while also gaining feedback. Put simply, it is calling a lead and asking them for feedback on a product or service. This not only encourages them to learn more about your offering, but provides you with the insights you need to make it more competitive. Another fantastic part of this strategy is to ask them if they know of any business that could benefit from your offering (if not there own) to gain a referral – after all, nothing is strong than word of mouth.
The Industry Specific, Time Sensitive Offering is just as it sounds – it is an offering on your service or product during times when industries are looking for resources and yours need to be as appealing as possible. An example would be cellphone companies offering deals at the end of August and in early September because they know students and parents will be buying cellphones and plans to stay in touch. This particular pitch in sales requires a lot of research and intuition for timing – you’ll need to know when the industry is looking for solutions, and when they’ve shut their doors for the time being.
With all of this being said, remember to keeping your mind open and to not place yourself in a bubble. Look outside your own area – local selling is wonderful, and some businesses may only have their local market available. For those with offerings that can be implemented everywhere, look to other countries! Globalism, free trade, exceptional travel… we are in a global village so make use of it!
There is one aspect of sales I want to mention before we top this section off – sales is, in itself, and industry of learning. There is a good chance you are going to be hearing a lot more ‘no’s than ‘yes’, which is completely fine. There will be a call where you may fall flat on your face and that is alright because it is still moving forward. Learn from everything, because that is a key to success that provides a return on investment.
Now comes the next stage of actually closing the deal – which, inevitably, comes with asking for money. A little-known fact about this stage, however, is that you can actually use it to solidify the purchase and get leads to other organizations that you could pitch to.
We’ll start off with the Traditional Close, where you simply ask how they would prefer to pay for the service and can be employed after the lead has selected your service. The reason I’ve included this is that many salespeople forget that this does need to be a done in a professional manner – which can be forgotten after the ‘high’ of getting a sale. Just because you’ve won the customer over to use your product or service, does not mean you stop treating them courteously and professionally. There are other ways to add a bit of flavor to this.
You can use the Congratulatory Close, which is simply where you congratulate the new customer on their purchase. This ‘pumps the tires’ of the sale as it were, where you tell them to congratulate themselves on making a great deal and working towards making their business more efficient. This close is great to use at the end of an informal pitch, and it re-affirms their choice in your product.
Or you can use the Referral Close. This close works on the notion that adhering to professionalism is “working smart.” Everybody’s interested in helping out someone they like, so if you’ve got some rapport, use this method. When you make your initial offer to a prospect and after you’ve engaged enough for them to understand what you’re selling, slip in a referral request. Make sure that before you put a quote in front of them, ask if in they know someone in their personal contact list/rolodex/whatever word you think will penetrate best, they believe could benefit from just knowing about the concept of your product. It’s best to ask for the referral before any closing hard statements because they have something to offer that way. The thought is that if they throw you a bone, you can make the better deal sweeter.
Now, despite what many movies may have you believe, there is a lot more to closing a sales deal than hanging up the phone and banging an oversized gong. While you send the electronic contact to have it signed, it is important to focus on setting up the customer for success from the get go.
It is a fantastic practice to have an onboarding protocol in place for new clients using your service so they have a full understanding of what you offer as a business and what they’re investing in. The key word in that last statement was ‘investing’ – as when a business buys your product or service, they are investing in your company, even if it is just a one-time transaction.
The key word in that last statement was ‘investing’ – as when a business buys your product or service, they are investing in your company, even if it is just a one-time transaction.
If you’re offering a service, try to schedule check-ins roughly a week or two after onboarding to ensure that they are not running into any obstacles or road blocks.
If you’re selling a product, don’t be afraid to get in touch to find out how they’re finding it and if they have any feedback you can put to use.
To review, let’s go over what we’ve covered today:
1. We began by talking about the different ways you can get information on a potential lead you’re looking to acquire. Remember to research the organization’s website to find out how your offering could fit into their objectives or goals, to review their latest news, and anything relevant to your product or service.
When you secure the contact info of who you want to pitch to, don’t forget to look them up on LinkedIn and learn more about them. By having an understanding of their experience, you can better tailor your pitch to them. Remember to keep all of this info in a CRM, and to make a pre-call checklist of information to find out.
2. After that, we dug into actually making the pitch. We went over three different types of pitches: the benefits pitch, the feedback request, and the industry specific, time sensitive pitch. Each had it’s own unique angle so try out different types to switch up your sales strategy.
Speaking of your sales strategy, if you’re able to branch out globally – do so. While some businesses may be tied to their local market, don’t be afraid to expand into other states, provinces, or a new country if you’re able to support it. We then ended the section with the very true advice of not letting ‘no’ get you down – like any salesperson, you’ll have digital doors closed in front of you. Take each one as a chance to learn and continue grinding – no one became a master salesperson overnight.
3. We ended off talking about the different ways you can close a sale, from the traditional close to congratulating them on their purchase, to asking to be referred to someone in their rolodex who may benefit from your service.
The close doesn’t end there though – make sure to have an onboarding protocol in place to ensure that your new customer is taken care of. Don’t forget to check in after a week or so to see how they’re doing with your product, to answer any questions they may have, or help conquer any obstacles they may have encountered.
Now on to next week…
Next week, we’ll be talking about squashing bugs and keeping your data safe with cyber security:
1. We’ll start off with cyber security 101
2. Different types of malware and non-malware
3. Creating a cyber security plan