How can a salesperson qualify a lead in under 10 minutes? Jason Swenk can help. He is a self-proclaimed professional Uber driver for his children, who are 13 and 9 years old, but his main job is to work with agency owners to grow and create freedom in their company.
The downstream sales process doesn’t start the conversation or qualify a lead by immediately selling to a potential client. Launching a meeting by talking about a product is a tactic many sales reps use but it doesn’t often lead to closing. The downstream sales process is more about taking away the risks and making sure that the transaction works for both parties and ensures both parties have good experiences.
Oftentimes, people sell their core services right off the bat and immediately go to the high ticket item regardless if it meets the client’s needs. In this scenario, a high commission is a goal by trying to capture a major commitment from a client who doesn’t yet see the value in what you’re offering. You’re trying to sell long term or short-term contracts to people who don’t fit the criteria of your ideal client. For long-term gains, you have to know and find your ideal customer.
Knowing the profile of your ideal customers takes a while especially if you are just starting out. You need time to figure out who the ideal client is so you don’t waste time or resources. Conversing with clients who aren’t actually your ideal customers is akin to flirting with someone who you were never meant to have a relationship with. This is caused by both desperation and misplaced optimism, which can be common in sales.
Another mistake that salespeople can make is the failure to ask questions. Salespeople tend to keep talking with statements and forget that the most valuable aspects of the conversation will come from the client answering their questions. Asking prospect questions will reveal their pain points, the impact of the problems on their business, and how these problems make them feel.
It is important to identify what kind of client you want to work with and getting to know what their biggest challenges are to accurately qualify a lead. For example, say you’re an agency that wants to work with lawyers. Which lawyers are you really going after?
After you have the most specific profile you can get, it’s time to make a call. When you do, don’t offer everything, just offer a sneak peek. Sell it as a foot-in-the-door service. This strategy takes the pressure off of the new sales guy and the prospects as well. This benefits both parties because you’re not asking for more than just a small, simple commitment. You’re giving them a slice of the pie instead of giving them the whole pie without even knowing if they like it or not.
To join you, you’re client gets three options:
A great salesperson thinks two steps ahead. This means that as you are in a meeting, you are already setting up the next one. As you’re walking your potential clients through the front door, help them feel they are already partners in building the plan with you.
The next part of the process is fixing the problem through this plan you’re laying out together. Your prospect will already be bought in because they’re helping to create it.
When they give the go signal to start the project, everybody on the team should work on it together. This is important in the downstream process because the client is seeing the results. When they start seeing the success of the original plan, the salesperson then needs to go back to the client and see what other needs can be taken care of. For example:
“Hey! I’m glad you’re getting results. You know, there are a couple of other things that we could do in order to really accelerate this. Are you open to having a conversation about that?”
Since you’ve already earned their trust, you now have the opportunity to pitch your year-to-year retainer and they can still cancel anytime. This foot-in-the-door process is effective since clients are 10 times more likely to pay you again if they’ve already had a successful transaction with you. You’re going to close the deal a lot quicker because what you’re offering is less risky since they’ve already gotten to see a positive outcome. You start at entry-level and build from there.
Know that some organizations won’t change and adapt to this foot-in-the-door process. If you’re a sales rep working for one of these organizations you have two options. You may decide to try to change the organization or look for another organization that you believe will have a positive impact on your sales career.
As a salesperson, keep testing the process and adapt. Be willing to take in new data in order to change and improve your business and your sales stats. Test out different variations of this blueprint, use it as a framework, and you’ll be fine.
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Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth. Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.