Do you waste time with your customers during follow-ups?
In this pressurized, multitasking world, where your customers are expected to produce more in less time, they may be less and less eager to meet with you than they were just a year ago. Time is more precious than ever and your customers are feeling the pressure.
In order for your customers to take the time to see you reliably, they should expect them to earn some value for the time spent with you.
This means that, if you want to be successful in the B2B sales world, you will need to build a reputation that is worth the time spent with you. If over time you can create this idea in the minds of your customers, you will usually find them willing to meet with you when you call. And in an economy where “too much to do and not enough time to do” is the prevailing mindset, that reputation is a valuable asset.
As always, it starts with thought and preparation. As we prepare for a sales call, we often think about what we want to accomplish and what we want to gain from the sales call. Very few salespeople think about what the customer gets out of it. It’s the starting point.
Here’s a little mental trick to help you out. Before each sales call, when you are thinking about what you want to do, what tools and materials you will need, take a moment and ask “What is the customer going to save with this time they spend with it?” me?”
Here is a list of some possible answers:
- Some good ideas to help him in his business or his work.
- Some ways to help him earn more business
- Some ways to stand out from the crowd.
- Some ideas to reduce costs.
- Some good things to think about.
- You helped him resolve a conflict.
- You helped him to simplify things.
- You helped him solve a problem.You helped him get closer to a goal.
- You made him feel better about himself or his business.
- He was able to spend time with your charming and entertaining personality.
The answer is probably somewhere in the top ten items on this list. If you can’t name anything that the customer will win, you can safely assume that the time the customer spends with you on this sales call will be a waste of time. Your relationship may withstand one or two of them, but in the long run, wasted time will destroy a business relationship.
If you want to deliver value to every customer, every time you will need to spend more time preparing for it. This brings us to two simple rules for adding value to every sales call:
- Present something, every time.
- Ask for something, every time.
Presenting something, every time, means exactly that. You should, on every sales call with every customer and prospect, have something to talk about, something to educate, which can be useful to them.
You can, for example, have an idea that you share.
Maybe an idea that will help him …
lower the costs
do something better or easier
make it more precious
make his job easier.
You can tell a story that gives an example of how someone gained an advantage or solved a problem.
You can introduce a new product, a new product line, or a new application for an existing product that they may not be aware of.
You could present a service that your business offers that may be of interest to them.
And finally, you can present a proposal to buy something from you. The important thing here is that you prepare to present something to every customer and prospect with every sales call. And not just anything, but rather something that this particular client may find useful for them.
Remember rule number two: ask for something, with every sales call, with every customer and every prospect. And I don’t mean a question like, “How do you feel about the weather today?” Ask a question that leads the prospect / customer to think differently about your job or business, consider something he probably hasn’t thought about before, clarify certain values, goals, objectives or strategies.
If you take the time to individually prepare something to present and something to request for each sales call, you will, more often than not, be seen as providing some value to the customer. Over time, he will be more and more willing to meet with you. And this reputation will be one of your greatest strengths in the market.