How to Make Effective Use of your Time on the Phone for Better Sales ResultsNovember 17, 2018
3 Things to Consider when using LinkedIn for ProspectingNovember 24, 2018
When someone asks you as a business for a quote for your service, how quickly do you act upon that request? Do you consider that you may not be the only provider of that service to be asked? In an age where the consumer has all the power, and everything is so immediate, we should be ensuring that we meet requests promptly, otherwise the opportunity of securing business will pass us by. So how do you ensure you win the deal before anyone else? Well, recently I was able to try this out when I became ‘the consumer’ looking for a service to help me with my new ‘pain point’… organising a Stag Do! Whilst it’s an incredible honour to be asked to be the best man for one of my oldest friends, I also have the task of organising the pre-wedding celebrations! That is quite the responsibility! Trying to get 20 guys living in different parts of the country is a task and a half, so I thought I would see what services that were out there could help me pull this task off! There are lots of companies that now offer services for ‘Group Party’ bookings so I reached out to three of these companies. I wanted to share with you the process and how I came to the decision to work with the company that ‘won the sales race’. Here’s how it went…
From some simple online searches, I found three companies that I was interested in speaking with. Each of them had a professional website and looked to deliver the service I needed. I completed their online enquiry forms and waited for a response. In this fast-paced technological age, if you don’t have an online form as part of your website, you are missing a HUGE opportunity. As I was busy in the day, I did my searches in the evening which is the same for a lot of consumers, so it makes sense to have a form to make life easier. I didn’t even bother with a company that asked me to call them for a price and another company whose form on their website errored!
Based on the forms I submitted, I got responses from all three companies. One within 12 hours, one within 24 hours and the third one came in at around 36 hours. The first company also tried to call me to have a chat and left a message to say that they were sorry they’d missed me, but they were keen to help. The responsiveness of the first two companies was important and plays a big part if you want to win the sales race. Statistics show that you are far more likely to win new business if you respond quickly to customers who approach you. I appreciate that some smaller companies aren’t always available to contact new prospects, but if this is the case, then you could at least automate an initial email back to the customer, so they know they have your attention and follow it up at your first opportunity. By the time the third company contacted me, I had already built and impression of them that ‘they weren’t that bothered’ and made me wonder, ‘if that’s what they’re like with a potential customer, how slow will they be once they have my business?’
The speed of your response has a major impact on your chance of winning the sales race. Leave it too long, and others will be too far ahead for you to catch up!
Once I had received responses from the companies, I was keen to see if they understood my requirements and how professional they were in their approach. In my initial enquiry, I had indicated that I didn’t want basic accommodation, I wanted something a little more comfortable. I also wanted to know if I could trust them, considering I was about to hand over mine and 21 other people’s money. I didn’t want to risk handing this over to a company that looked unprofessional. One of the responses (from the slower response company) ignored my original request and even included the word ‘Hostel’ in the quote! This didn’t bode well for future business. They’d clearly not understood what I was after or paid attention to any of my specifications. Two of the companies sent very professional quotes which included the actual name of the person dealing with my request. Both followed up with an email and text message to say, ‘the quote was with me’. They were likely to be templated quotes, but they looked professional so that was ok. This personal, professional approach coupled with a good price made it easy for me to decide to work with one of these two companies and disregard the third!
Seek to understand what the prospect wants before trying to offer your product or service and look professional in the way in which you respond.
Now I had two quotes to work with. It was now a case of seeing who could provide me with the best deal and more importantly, ensure my requirements are met. Who wanted the business more was also something I was intrigued by and how each of them would try to get me to choose them over their competitor. Winning in sales is all about persistence and I was impressed that both companies didn’t just leave it there. Both followed up with another email to ask what I thought of the quote and whether I had any questions. Both seemed keen to win the business, but it was the personal nature of one of the salespeople that really made me warm to them. They indicated that they had lived in Barcelona (which is where we were going) and talked about where the best places to go were. They were also very responsive when I asked a question about the accommodation and this impressed me. It was this inside knowledge which put them ahead of the other company!
Never give up on a potential customer until you are told it’s a no. Try and look to gain an advantage on your competitors. Be honest and based upon the prospect’s requirements, try to be different!
I had told both companies that I wanted to decide by the end of the week and so it was now about confirming the finer details of the package, feeling assured that I was making the right choice and seeing if one company wanted the business more than the other. I have always been a fan of getting a deal (or something thrown in as a bonus), and I guess it would come down to the willingness of the one company to offer an incentive over and above the package and pricing they offered. In business, it is essential that you don’t try and secure business which isn’t ‘good business’ but you also must be flexible and go that extra mile to win a deal, especially in a competitive space! The company I had chosen had been neck and neck with the other, but willingness to be flexible showed me that they really wanted the business and this, plus all the other factors made them feel like the right choice. Being successful in sales is not just about you winning, but about making your customer feel like they have won as well. Giving them a great deal makes commercial sense, you sometimes must go the extra mile to become the winner! So, there you have it! My real-life experience of having to choose the winner in a sales race. Winning in business is tough, but sometimes it’s those extra miles the business is willing to go that make the difference. That was certainly the case for me!
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