6 Simple Ways To Impress Your Prospects
1. When you get sight of a lead, respond quickly and professionally
Being given the opportunity to quote for some business or being recommended as someone who can do a job is a great way in which to find new customers. It is unusual for me to NOT see someone on a daily basis ask for a recommendation on social media. A brief look at my Facebook feed even this evening shows me 2 people looking for someone to help them apply for awards and someone to help them mend a broken boiler!
Potential opportunities are readily available for the right business people to pick up and when you get recommended by someone who has seen the post then you stand an even better chance to win the business if you interact with the prospect in the right way.
You stand a good chance if you respond quickly. Your chances diminish the longer you take to reply.
Tough as it may seem but taking 2 to 3 days to respond is simply not good enough in the modern climate and so when you get given a ‘sniff’ of some business, it’s vital that you respond in the right way. Social Media allows you to be notified when someone tags you into a post or tweet and so if they do, make it a priority to get back to that person quickly (ideally within a few hours) to thank the referrer for the recommendation and to engage with the prospect. Ask them the best way to approach them about their need and listen to how they respond. If you don’t hear anything back within a day or so, then remind yourself to politely follow up and see if they still need the service. Be friendly, be helpful and be engaging and the chances are they will ask you to contact them directly to arrange a time to meet or speak. Do this well and prospects will be impressed. They will think that you respond quickly and are professional which are key buying criteria when they come to make the decision on who they will choose for the job itself.
2. When you are going to arrange to call them give them a reminder
Once you have engaged with the prospect, the next key stage in the process is to impress them with the way in which you work and operate. I have lost count of the amount of times I have asked tradespeople to come and give me a quote to do some work and then find out that they don’t turn up or don’t turn up when they say they will. Modern day phones and tablets give you low cost technological ways to store contact details and diaries and if you use systems like InTouch then you can even share your diary and contacts with others you work with.
Print out what your day looks like if you prefer to use paper or use your mobile device to remind you of what meetings you have. To look even more professional, store the name and details of the meeting in a CRM system and set up an automated reminder text or email which informs the prospect a day or an hour before your appointment and which gives you a chance to even subtlety market to the prospect ahead of your meeting. Just imagine if you were sent a message like the one below, 1 day before your appointment.
I look forward to coming to meet you at location xx at xx time tomorrow evening. If you are running late or unable to make our meeting then please reply to this email and we can look to arrange another time.
I am looking forward to understanding more about the project you have and providing you with a quote to deliver this work. I have recently completed a similar project with another local family Mrs xx and they have been thrilled with what I delivered for them. I look forward to talking with you about your plans and providing a quote for you.
Should I be delayed for any reason as well, I will ensure I call you and give you notice as I understand you are a busy man.
With very best wishes
If I got a message like this from someone then not only would I be impressed by their way of working but it would also make me value them more. I would even go as far as saying I would expect their quote to be a bit more as they look like they are professional and I would rather pay once and get a professional job done that twice or three times for substandard work.
Treat the prospect with total respect and it will help them build an impression of you that is strong and someone they can trust. If you also can’t make the time you have set then don’t leave them hanging around waiting for you, call them and explain to them that you are late and give a realistic time when you will be there. In most cases, people are happy to wait for you but only if you have communicated with them!
Remind them, communicate professionally and subtlety share your previous success stories and it’s another plus point to make the prospect think ‘this is the company for me’.
3. When you engage a prospect, look professional, listen and take notes to impress
So, you have responded quickly and looked professional in the way in which you have set up the appointment with the prospect. The key next stage in the process is to engage in the right way, listen effectively and take notes which you can store to remind you of your meeting.
When you turn up to meet your customer, what initial impression do you want them to have of you? The prospect (if you have followed steps 1 and 2) are already impressed by how you have engaged but that impression can be easily damaged if you turn up looking like you’ve just come through a hedge backwards! Depending on the business you are in, the appearance you have is key and prospects really do make decisions based around the initial impression they have of you.
Turn up looking smart with a notebook or tablet, a branded coat and a decent looking business card and you are going to impress. Turn up with half of your lunch on your shirt, a bent business card, a jotter notepad and a business card printed at the local services and you won’t!
Once you have introduced yourself to the prospect, clarify the amount of time they have available for the meeting or what they want to achieve from the appointment. Listen to the prospect and when I say listen I mean REALLY LISTEN to what they have to say.
My dad (who was a brilliant salesperson) used to tell me that you have 2 ears and 1 mouth and to succeed in sales you need to use them in proportion. Don’t listen with the intent to reply, really listen to what the prospect is looking for and try and find out what their pain points are. Ask questions about what has made them look for a new solution, who else may be involved in making the decision and what timelines they are looking to work with.
Within the questions, you ask, try and find the real issue or problem that the customer is looking to solve. Do this and it not only impresses the prospect but it also allows you to drive higher prices for your services as prospects want answers to their problems and in most cases understand that to get answers, they have to pay decent money for them!
Write down notes (preferably with a decent pen and not something which the dog or you ???? has chewed to bits) and answers to the questions you ask and clarify anything that you are not sure about or if you misheard anything. Prospects would rather see people ask points at the time they meet than to have to then talk through these points 4 days later when their mind may well be in another place.
If you can type the notes into a CRM system whilst you are with the prospect then this is even better (most systems allow you to log on with a tablet computer nowadays) but if you don’t do it then, ensure you give yourself some time to type up the notes from your meeting within a few days! If you don’t then you will forget the key points and its those key aspects which could be key to you winning the business.
Storing key information such as the fact that the prospect was busy that day due to preparing for a major work presentation gives you an edge for the next time you engage. Asking within your follow up emails or calls ‘how did your major presentation go’ will show the prospect that you listened and help you build an emotional connection with them. It will make the prospect feel that you really are interested in them and connections of these types tend to turn into business more often than not as people buy from people!
So look good, listen intently, ask questions and take notes to store for future communications! Do that and its another tick in the box!
4. When you have spoken to them, follow up quickly and set expectations
As you leave the prospects house or location then try to set out there and then the expectations of what will happen next. Only 2 days ago, I asked a tradesmen to come around to my house to quote for some work I wanted done in the garden and whilst he turned up on time and seemed to take good notes, 48 hours on from when he left my door and I still haven’t heard from him.
People understand that you are busy. In fact, most prospects will be slightly worried if your able to start the job tomorrow as good people tend to be in demand. As you leave, outline what will happen next and be realistic about the timescales that you set.
If you can be uber organized and can use an automation sequence to thank the customer for their time then it can really set you apart from the crowd. Just imagine receiving an email like this 1 hour after your meeting
Thanks very much for meeting me today. It was lovely to meet with you and understand more about your project and plans. I will be looking through the notes of our conversation and I will look to ensure I provide a quote/response to you within 7 days. If I am not able to respond within that time due to other work commitments, then I will let you know as I understand this project is important for you.
Here at company x, we pride ourselves on our approach to delivering on customer projects and so I have attached a guide on how we work with customers just to show you how we ensure we deliver against your requirements. I hope that you find this of interest and once again I would like to thank you for your time.
We are excited at the thought of working with you and we will come back to you with our quote within the timeframe I have outlined above.
With very best wishes
Not only does an email like this make you look incredibly professional but it also allows you to once again market your business and what you do with the prospect. At this stage in the buying process, the prospect is thinking whether they can trust you to do the job they have and so you outlining the process you follow and work towards is a great way of showing them your someone they can trust.
If you also send an email like this from a system such as InTouch, you are also able to see if they opened the email and clicked the link, so allowing you an insight into the mind of the prospect! Who would click on such a document or guide if they weren’t thinking seriously about appointing you?
When you have met with the prospect, you need to ensure that you do follow up relatively quickly though and most importantly you do what you say you will. The prospect may have a pressing time demand that requires you to quote immediately but in most cases people are happy to wait for an official quote which sets out clearly what will be delivered and the price to be charged. I have always found that you are better to under deliver and then over promise when it comes to providing responses to prospects. Tell them they will have a response within 7 days and deliver within 5 and you will get additional brownie points with your prospect! You will also give them a belief that you do what you say you will and are reliable which is a core basic you need to develop in your business if you are to convert prospects to customers on a regular basis.
If you are unable to meet the timelines that you set, then the key thing is to communicate with the prospect (preferably by phone) that you are sorry that you can’t deliver on the timescales you agreed and that you will get them the proposal within x days. At this stage, whatever you do, do not, I repeat DO NOT say you will deliver within 3 days and then not deliver at that time. Breaking one promise is bad but breaking 2 will undo all the good work you have done and will just add uncertainty and doubt into the prospects mind.
I see so many people (and I have made the mistake myself before) make promises to deliver quotes within unrealistic timescales that they are then unable to meet. Most people can handle honesty and if you clarify with the prospect your timescales then you can also assess whether that will work for them. If you say it will take 2 weeks to get back to someone and the prospect looks aghast at that thought, you need to decide if you can respond in a shorter time frame or if it will take that long.
Don’t compromise your own way of working just to suit someone or better still indicate that you can respond at a faster pace if the prospect themselves is able to confirm that they can make a decision within 24 hours of you sending the quote.
Set expectations, follow up effectively and do what you say you will! Do that and your nearly there to converting that prospect into a paying customer.
5. When you follow up, don’t focus on price, focus on your value
Once you have left the prospects property and typed your notes up into your clever prospect management system (we have one you can trial if you don’t have one at the moment ????) it is vital that you give yourself sufficient time to deliver on the quote you have promised.
It is an incredibly tough job to quote for new business whilst your busy running your business and I know from first-hand experience that without good systems and processes, you can burn a lot of midnight oil getting everything done!
Good prospect management systems will allow you to store core basic information about you and your company and hold ‘standard templates’ which you can then use to respond for quotes. Most prospects understand nowadays that the quote they receive will be a templated based approach and providing the key requirements they have set out are included in the initial response then they will be happier to see a professional looking template response than a halfcocked quote which doesn’t provide them with the key information.
When you present your proposal, outline a little at the start about who you and your company are and indicate early on if you have won any awards or have any qualifications which can help build credibility for who you are and what you do. Clarify the problem and then outline your solution and define how you would work to deliver the solution. Define how you would mitigate the risks for the prospect and focus on the value of what you offer, the skills of your team and the results you have gained elsewhere rather than just focus on the price.
At this stage, the prospect of course wants a good deal and price but they are also looking to ensure they get the problem solved. They want assurances on how you will handle this and will want clarity on what would need to be signed and completed if you were to move forward on the project. At this stage, prospects will also be interested to hear stories from other customers and potentially even references so that they can speak to others and validate the work you have done.
The proposal needs to look professional, be concise, answer the core problem that the prospect has and leave them with as few questions as possible. There is always the chance that they will have a few queries to clarify but if you provide contact numbers and email addresses they can use to approach you then it helps cement your position as a person that is confident in what you do and someone who can deliver for them.
As a final finish to your proposal, outline the essence of why they should choose you. Re-affirm who you are and why you are a company or person they should put their trust in. Wish them well with the project whoever they choose and politely ask them to provide feedback to you on what you do and how you operate regardless of the decision they make.
Doing this may mean that even if the prospect doesn’t think your right at that moment for the project, it will help them see you in a positive manner and show them that you are all about improving how you work. Prospects and people generally like to see businesses be humble in their approach and keen to learn and if you can show this then it will help build your reputation and position as someone in the industry that can be trusted.
6. When you have followed up initially follow up again and again
We have now reached the final stage. The proposal has been sent and it’s the waiting game. I always encourage anyone we work with to try and clarify in your quote response when a decision will be made but sometimes circumstances change and prospects don’t respond when you would like them to.
I share with businesses the statistic that 80% of business is done on the 5th to the 12th interaction and many are astounded by this fact. So many salespeople send proposals through and then follow up a few times and then give up before they should.
There are times when a prospect doesn’t tell the truth about what they are looking for (we can help you ask the right questions initially to ensure you don’t waste your time on false prospects) but in the main the problem exists for people but other things get in the way of them making a decision. Maybe a family incident has arisen or a business problem has occurred which has meant this project has had to take a backburner for a short while.
They may well turn to you in time if they liked everything that you did but if they have had 2 or 3 people quote for the business, its likely that it will be the company who continues to engage with them politely who will win the day.
Once you have provided a proposal, create effective automated reminders to both the prospect and for you as a person to email or call them to ask how things are going. Simple emails which ask how they are, how things are going and whether they have had the time to make a decision on their project may not always be responded to straight away but can be used to ensure you and your company are at the top of mind for the prospect.
I once had to follow up 14 times with a lady who was interested in using our services and if it wasn’t due to us having a clever automation sequence which sent her emails and which reminded me to make contact, I know I would not have won the business!
Use the emails you send to continually validate that the prospect is still looking to solve the problem and on later emails ask if there is anything that you can do to help them move the project forward. At all times indicate that you are keen to solve their issue and remove the problem they have and do this in a polite manner.
You may want after 15-20 engagements to ask if you have done anything wrong or see if there was something you did to offend them but I only recommend this type of approach in extreme cases or for very determined sales people. If you use clever systems then you can be reminded when the prospect has engaged with your email and tools like lead scoring can show you who is really interested in what you do and who is ignoring you. Whatever you do, remain professional, remain courteous and offer to be of service at all times. The door doesn’t always open on the first knock but it can after knock 2 or 3!
So there you have it! 6 ways in which you can get your prospects to fall in love with you! Follow the process above and you will win more business than you lose and you will convert more prospects!
Here at InTouch we have recently completed 3 models which we believe can help ANY business in the world convert more prospects to customers. We would love to share more about our systems and knowledge with you and provide you with the implementation help to convert more prospects into customers.
Keen to know more? Keen to see if we drink our own champagne? Go on try us out. Contact us today and let us show you how we engage to achieve results!