How to help your prospect say "YES!"


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The most important sales conversations occur BEFORE the sales meeting. Follow these 4 simple steps to create a powerhouse marketing message that helps your prospect say "YES!" before you've even met!

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  • When the customer says “maybe”, well, you could have either a marketing or a sales problem (or both). It’s possible that you had a disconnect with your sales delivery – and Mike’s going to discuss that later on this morning. But it’s also possible that maybe something in your marketing message wasn’t hitting home with your customer. Maybe there’s a better way that you could approach your marketing, that addresses questions up front and makes it easier for the customer to say yes. And that’s what I’ll talk about first!So the word “marketing” really covers every interaction you have with a prospect, before they actually buy anything from you. And there are a few very simple tricks you can use to make sure that your marketing is as effective as possible. I’m going to outline 4 easy steps for you, that your marketing should be doing, before you even walk into the sales meeting. (Click and read each point.)
  • When you’re talking with a customer, it’s so easy to talk about what we know about our product or service. We can talk about what the product does, what the service consists of, how it is delivered, and a whole bunch of other facts about the product. In marketing speak, we call these things “features”. And features are important…but to really capture the client’s attention, we have to turn those features around into benefits, that speak the client’s language.I used to be horrible about this. My very first job out of grad school was selling credit insurance. This is a very specialized insurance product – the insurance covers an accounts receivable item, so that if you extend payment terms to a customer (anywhere from Net 30 to Net 180 Days and more – which you might do on a multi-million dollar sale), and if the customer defaults on the invoice, the insurance company pays you. It’s actually a fairly sophisticated insurance product, and it’s used almost more like a financial product. So here I am, young and stupid, didn’t know anything about marketing or selling. I just learned everything I could about this product. And I’d go into sales meetings, and I’d tell the client all the facts about the product. I’d explain everything the product does. And then I’d sit and wait for the client to “get it”…and I’d honestly be surprised at the number of people who just didn’t “get it”. Which is funny because I really didn’t get it! Here’s a sample of what I would say to them…(click)
  • So this is pretty much how I’d start the conversation out. You’ll notice that I talk pretty much exclusively about the features of the product – what the product does…and then I couldn’t understand why the client wouldn’t jump at it. I wasn’t doing a very good job of connecting the dots, of showing the customer what the features really meant to the customer – what difference they could make. So here’s the trick for connecting the dots, so that you can frame your product or service in a way that makes sense to your client. List as many features as you can think of. For each one, ask yourself, “Which means…what? Why does that matter?” Dig deep, and come up with a benefit for each feature that you feel will resonate with your client. So for credit insurance, protecting that AR gives you security, which gives you confidence to extend terms even if you otherwise might not. And what could that confidence do to your sales team? So if I phrased my marketing message like this (click), do you see how I’ve turned the whole thing around to the customer’s language?
  • Let me show you another real-life example. I have kids, and we happen to own a lot of pets. We’re kind of crazy – 1 dog, 2 guinea pigs, 2 mice, 1 hamster, an indeterminate number of fish. And I think a snail. And that number varies quite a bit. So anyway, the other day I’m flipping through a catalog of pet products, and I came across this. Did you know that there’s an automatic kitty litter box out there? Really! The cat goes in, does its thing and leaves, and an automatic sensor cleans up the mess and seals it up in a bag. Genius! And I thought this is a great opportunity to show you more about features and benefits. So the big feature here is that the litter box cleans itself automatically. Which means what? What does that mean for you? (click) It makes your life easier – you save time and effort. That’s good. But can we dig a little deeper? What does it mean that it saves us time and effort? Why does that matter? (click) Ah…it means that by keeping the litter box clean, we won’t be embarrassed by a stinky house. Or maybe that our cat will appreciate the clean litter box and will love us more! Do you see how asking that question, “Why does that matter?”, we’re really connecting the dots? We’re framing this product from the viewpoint of the customer. We’re talking the customer’s language…and we’re making it so much easier for the customer to “get it.” ALWAYS talk the customer’s language.
  • The next tip: Anticipate questions at every step. No matter what you’re selling, chances are good that new customers don’t automatically call you up and order 20 of them, without asking a few questions first. And for some of us, there may be several stages in the buying process. Depending on where your customer is in that process, you’re going to be asked different questions. Is the customer just window shopping? His questions might be very general; he might just be looking to educate himself on the topic. Or has the customer done all his research and he’s ready to buy? His questions might have to do with how you work or your background, your credibility, or your experience with his type of company.It just makes sense to make sure that your marketing addresses all of those questions, every step of the way. Let me share with you an example from an actual health situation in my life. I tend to be a little anemic; it’s not a big deal, many women are. But I’m also very lazy and I’m horrible about taking iron supplements, and a few years ago, the anemia got fairly severe. Around that time I became very interested in natural health solutions , and so as I started to look into really doing something about my anemia, I wanted to find a “holistic” solution. And I definitely went through some very specific stages in my “buying process”.
  • Let me walk you through the questions I had along the way, as I was trying to find a solution for my anemia.First, I wasn’t even sure how much of a problem it was. The first place I went to was my own doctor, and I met with him and had a bunch of questions. I also found a few articles in magazines I subscribe to. I visited medical websites like WebMD. At this point I was just doing very basic research to educate myself. (click)From there, I started to look into possible solutions to my problem. I read lots and lots of blog posts and online articles. I visited websites of people who treated anemia, from naturopaths to holistic nutritionists, even some chiropractors and an acupuncturist. And I was always looking for suggestions at how to approach my condition. (click)Once I started to understand what was out there, I started to narrow down my search. Basically I was comparing solutions. I started sizing up the websites of different providers out there, comparing what each of them had to say. I asked friends for recommendations as well. (click)And then, finally, I felt ready to make a decision. Here’s the interesting thing: that very week, I attended a Chamber General Membership Luncheon. And I happened to sit next to a chiropractor who specializes in natural solutions to chronic health problems. She told me she focuses on nutrition, and I just about jumped out of my seat I was so excited to meet her. The timing was absolutely perfect, and I ended up becoming her patient. But here’s the thing; had I met her back when I was at Step 1, and if she had told me what she does, I would have said “Oh that’s interesting, give me your card and maybe I’ll call you” but I probably never would have. Back at step 1, I just wasn’t ready for her message – at least not the message she went with at the Chamber luncheon. I think that’s a really powerful point, that effective marketing is about saying the right thing at the right time. You have to anticipate the questions the customer will have every step of the way. And you have to answer them.Let me share with you another example, from a client I’m workign with right now.
  • One of my clients is a consulting firm, and they help accounting firms grow their practice. So in other words, my client sells very complicated services, and deals can take several months to close. The very first step for the accounting firm is to just begin to recognize that they might be in danger of losing clients. And so someone from the firm – usually a partner – will begin to research how they can get a handle on what their problem really is. They might get information from news sources – there are magazines aimed specifically at accounting firms, and guess what – my client has a deliberate content strategy, where they publish articles regularly in these magazines. Or a partner might attend an industry event…and guess what? My client regularly speaks at these sorts of events. Or maybe they’ll talk about it with a colleague at another firm, and the colleague will share information or specific tools they found to be helpful…and guess what, my client has two or three of those tools on their website.Okay, so by now the partner has recognized that the firm needs some help, and the partner is beginning to look at what kind of help is out there. And guess what – my client is doing all of these things. As I mentioned, they’re already being published regularly in magazines. They hold webinars regularly. They’ve written a white paper. And all of this content doesn’t really “sell” their services, it’s all very informative and designed to educate the partner on the various consulting solutions that are out there.Eventually, the partner gets to the point where he has a short list of solutions and he’s working toward eliminating options and narrowing down to a single best solution, or possibly to narrow the short list down to 2 or 3 options. He’s going to look for information that demonstrates the capabilities of my client, their credibility. And so my client can provide case studies that show off their best success stories, they’ve conducted their own research and created a white paper around the research results, to demonstrate real-life statistics and to prove the ROI of using the very services my client just happens to provide. My client also hosts break-out sessions at industry events, workshops that are very hands-one, results-oriented, as compared to a keynote speech that is probably more big picture.My client has very deliberately thought about the kinds of questions their clients have during the buying process, and they’ve done their very best to provide credible answers. Your marketing has to anticipate questions at every step.
  • A corollary to this point is that your marketing should address multiple viewpoints. The CEO is going to have very different questions than the Vice President of Finance will, than the guy down at the loading docks will. But if there is more than one person involved in the decision to buy, then you need to make sure you’ve considered the questions each one of them will have.
  • For example, I have a client who provides document destruction services. They do a lot of work with medical practices, who have to be very careful about document security due to HIPPAA laws. Legal firms are also big customers, since there are a lot of client confidentiality concerns. Banks and financial firms are also big clients.When any of these businesses are considering hiring my client, usually there are a few different people involved in the buying process. First of all, the CFO (click) will have questions that deal with bigger picture items. Is my client familiar with the regulations in their industry, and will they be compliant? How secure are my client’s services? The Office Manager has other concerns (click). How will she know which documents need to be destroyed? Can the paper be recycled? Will it be convenient? And then even at the loading docks (click), they’re concerned about the practicality of moving all the documents, how they’ll schedule the paper pick-ups and the time it’s going to take to get everything ready.So of course, we’ve made sure we address all of those concerns. And once we know that we’ve got everyone on board, it’s so much easier for the customer to say “yes”. To be effective, your marketing has to address multiple viewpoints.
  • So I’ve told you so far that your marketing has to speak your customer’s language. It has to anticipate every question. And it has to address multiple viewpoints. So here’s the final step – your marketing has to help your customer justify the purchase. It’s often said in marketing that people decide to buy with their hearts, but they justify the purchase with their heads. So is your client going to go for the practical, family-friendly minivan, or is he going to go for the shiny red sports car? And if he brings home the sports car, can he justify this decision to his wife?Of course, I’ve got an example! (click)
  • Last year, the sales manager at a company contacted me about overhauling their website. This was a really cool company – they handle promotional products, anything you might buy with a logo, and their clientele is first-rate – they do all the merchandising for Volkswagen, State Farm, Pabst Blue Ribbon…a really great company. And they have very sophisticated capabilities, but their website didn’t reflect any of that. The site was about 10 years old, and it was just a mess. It made them look like they were some mom-and-pop shop, really dated. The CEO of the company recognized that his sales staff was pushing for a new website. But a new website is expensive, and he was hesitant to spend the money. First of all, he had a web programmer on staff, so why couldn’t they just do the work themselves? And besides, he figured that they had been successful without their website the way it was, so did they really need to spend the money to create what his sales staff wanted?So we knew that the CEO would like to buy, but he needed help justifying the decision. So here’s how we helped him. (click)First, I showed him a side-by-side comparison of his website and the websites of his top 3 competitors. That alone was very eye opening, and it really visually drove home to him that his company was seriously being outpaced by the competition. (click)Second, we discussed the cost-effectiveness of outsourcing – that my people could do the work more cheaply than his people could, because his people were busy bringing in income working on projects for their clients. (click)And that led us to the third point, where we discussed what would happen if they did nothing (which might mean losing out some new business to competitors), versus the income that just one new customer would bring – which would more than cover the cost of the website.And we sold him! Their new website is fabulous, but even more importantly, the CEO had confidence in his decision. He felt really good about the new website, because he understood precisely why he said yes to it. Had he felt pressured into it, and if he wasn’t comfortable with the justification to buy, he might have felt buyer’s remorse, and felt bad about the site every time he saw it. But not now – because we helped him justify the purchase.
  • When you’re looking to help the customer justify the purchase, the first thing you want to do is circle the conversation back to the features of the product or service you’re selling. Remember those? The benefits speak to the customer’s heart, and help push him toward the decision to buy. But the features will help him justify the decision with his head, so that he feels confident in his decision to buy.But one of the biggest concerns and perhaps most difficult to justify is when a customer is concerned about price. I’ve listed here a few suggestions that might be able to help you help the customer justify the decision.First of all, it helps to define what the customer’s life will look like when he buys this product or service…or even better, help him picture his life 6 months or a year afterward – and the success he’ll be enjoying. In fact, you probably want to do this when you’re laying out the benefits and talking the customer’s language. But now, you can compare and contrast that picture of success against the status quo. What will the customer’s future look like if he does nothing?If you’re selling to businesses, you can talk about how many new sales it would take to cover the expense of your product. You can compare your solution to other, more expensive solutions. Success stories, statistics and proof of a return on investment are very effective – again, it’s all about showing the client what success will feel like, and that the purchase will be worth it.And maybe, all the client needs is to feel like he’s getting a deal. So sometimes, if you can offer payment terms or financing, that could be enough to sweeten the deal.And finally, never ever underestimate the power of a guarantee. Think about the last piece of junk mail that you read, especially if it was from a big firm with a big marketing budget. I will bet you $20 that direct mail piece had a guarantee on it. That’s because it works. Any time you see something in direct mail, you can bet it’s there because it works. Direct mail marketing firms test Every Single Element on those letters. They are very carefully measured and every single element on those letters is deliberately chosen for maximum impact. So they almost always include a guarantee, because many many tests have shown that they are effective. So try it, and see if it makes a difference for your firm. If it helps the customer justify the purchase and you close the sale, it’s worth it.
  • So, we’ve talked about what your marketing has to address, before you ever walk into a sales meeting.You’ve got to talk the customer’s language. List those features, and ask yourself for each one, “And this means what?”You’ve got to anticipate the questions at every step. Is your buyer window shopping? Or is your customer creating a short list of options?You’ve got to address multiple viewpoints. Will the CEO have different concerns than the CFO than the Office Manager than the guy at the loading docks?And you’ve got to help the customer justify the purchase. Bring out those features and make sure your customer knows why he’s buying, so he feels good about it.If your marketing hits all of these points, your customers will be saying “yes” before you’re even done talking!Thank you very much for your time…and let’s take a quick 5 minute break before Mike shows you how to come out of your sales meeting with a “Yes!”
  • How to help your prospect say "YES!"

    1. 1. How to help your prospect say<br />“YES!”<br />
    2. 2. Before the sales meeting…<br />Talk the customer’s language.<br />Anticipate the questions at every step.<br />Address multiple viewpoints.<br />Help the customer justify the purchase.<br />
    3. 3. Before the sales meeting…<br />Talk the customer’s language.<br />
    4. 4. Before the sales meeting…<br />Before:<br />Your receivables are one of your largest and most at-risk assets. Credit insurance protects against potential bad debt losses, thus providing a safety net. <br />Talk the customer’s language.<br />After:<br />Imagine knowing that every time you extended credit terms to a buyer, your organization was guaranteed to receive payment. <br />What difference would that confidence make to your sales team?<br />
    5. 5. Before the sales meeting…<br />Features<br />Automatic kitty litter box.<br />Benefits<br />You save time & effort. <br />Deeper Benefits<br />You won’t be embarrassed that your house stinks when guests come over. <br />Your cat will be happier and will love you more.<br />Talk the customer’s language.<br />
    6. 6. Before the sales meeting…<br />Just window shopping?<br />Anticipate the questions at every step.<br />Or ready to buy?<br />
    7. 7. Before the sales meeting…<br />Looking for holistic solution to anemia:<br />Step 1: Maybe I had a problem?<br /><ul><li>My doctor
    8. 8. Magazine articles
    9. 9. Medical websites</li></ul>Step 2: Possible solutions?<br /><ul><li>Blog posts
    10. 10. Online articles
    11. 11. Provider websites</li></ul>Step 3: Compare solutions<br /><ul><li>Asked friends
    12. 12. Provider websites</li></ul>Step 4: Make a decision!<br />Anticipate the questions at every step.<br />
    13. 13. Before the sales meeting…<br />Consulting firm for accounting firms:<br />Step 1: Are we at risk of losing clients?<br /><ul><li>Magazine articles
    14. 14. Keynote addresses
    15. 15. Free evaluation tools</li></ul>Step 2: Possible solutions?<br /><ul><li>Magazine articles
    16. 16. Webinars
    17. 17. White papers</li></ul>Step 3: Compare solutions<br /><ul><li>Case studies
    18. 18. White papers
    19. 19. Statistics
    20. 20. Trade show breakout sessions</li></ul>Step 4: Make a decision!<br />Anticipate the questions at every step.<br />
    21. 21. Before the sales meeting…<br />Address multiple viewpoints.<br />
    22. 22. Before the sales meeting…<br />CFO: <br /><ul><li>Compliance?
    23. 23. Security?
    24. 24. Cost?
    25. 25. Flexible options?</li></ul>Address multiple viewpoints.<br />Office Manager:<br /><ul><li>Documentation?
    26. 26. Recycling?
    27. 27. Convenience?</li></ul>Loading Docks:<br /><ul><li>Convenience?
    28. 28. Ease of scheduling?
    29. 29. Time involved?</li></li></ul><li>Before the sales meeting…<br />Help the customer justify the purchase.<br />or<br />
    30. 30. Before the sales meeting…<br />New website…price-conscious CEO<br />Side-by-side comparison of websites of top 3 competitors<br />Cost-effectiveness of outsourcing<br />Cost of doing nothing vs. benefit of gaining 1 new customer thanks to the new website<br />Help the customer justify the purchase.<br />
    31. 31. Before the sales meeting…<br />Customer concerned about price?<br /><ul><li>Cost of doing nothing?
    32. 32. How many new sales to cover the expense?
    33. 33. More expensive solutions?
    34. 34. Success stories
    35. 35. Statistics/ROI
    36. 36. Payment plan/Financing
    37. 37. Guarantees</li></ul>Help the customer justify the purchase.<br />
    38. 38. Before the sales meeting…<br />Talk the customer’s language.<br />Anticipate the questions at every step.<br />Address multiple viewpoints.<br />Help the customer justify the purchase.<br />