4 Steps to Avoid Stalled Sales
We’ve all heard one or all of these from a sales lead: “Sorry, but it’s not in the budget right now,” or “I have to speak with the CEO,” or (the worst!) “I’ll get back to you.” That’s right, the sale has stalled and your team is yet another client short of making quota.
Potential clients are increasingly well-informed by the time they reach the buying stage–almost 60% of the sales process happens before the customer even talks to a salesperson. By the time your salesperson reaches her lead, that lead will expect specific answers to complex questions, so it’s vital that your salesperson can handle hardballs with aplomb.
But this level of preparation takes time, and maybe too much. When 65% of sales reps’ time is non-client facing, we have to ask, “Could this time be better spent?” Sales is a highly information-dependent field, and your team needs to know its product and its buyers inside and out.
Here’s how to make sure your team is well-prepared, while still having time to foster a relationship with a new lead and avoid stalled sales.
Extract pain points.
Customers will have questions before your sales reps even start the conversation, so train them to use those questions to extract your buyer’s pain points and then address them. They should know how to drive the conversation with their own well-placed questions, but be prepared for the customer to do much of the talking. Being a great listener is one of the most important parts of sales.
It’s important for your team to know their own product inside and out prior to having this conversation, as stumbling over a hard question can break a potential sale. Having access to the right reference materials, even mid-meeting, helps immensely.
Establish a relationship.
Train your sales team to set up a positive relationship with the customer — they should know how to demonstrate an understanding of needs and a concern for meeting them, be valuable problem-solvers, and prepared for the questions to get more difficult as the close of the sale gets near. Train them to show buyers that they’re not just another vendor: but a partner. Your sales team is there to empathize with buyer’s problems and, ultimately, solve them. Build a sales force that is prepared and present.
Avoid information overload through customization.
Buyers don’t want or need to know every detail about your product in order for your sales team to close the deal. To the contrary, massive amounts of irrelevant information are more likely to make a buyer walk away. It’s too difficult for prospects to figure out what’s relevant when feature after feature keeps on coming, and buyers might as well go find a highly targeted product that meets needs better.
After figuring out a buyer’s pain points and getting to know his needs, teach your team to tighten up their sales pitch by offering only the most valuable information. Show exactly how the product solves the problem, but don’t show him the 12 other features that don’t apply.
Be prepared with cloud-based content.
Help your sales team tap into information on the go with cloud-based, customized content. The right reference materials let your employees immediately pull up the information that they need to continue the sales conversation without interrupting the flow of the sale.
This is another great opportunity to minimize information overload, as you can target your reference materials to specific types of buyers so that your salespeople can easily give your buyers what they want and nothing more. Support the sales conversation from beginning to end with reference materials that enable a buyer-specific, fully customized pitch. Enable your sales force to spend more time fostering the lead, instead of memorizing and compiling information, by placing what they need to close the sale right at their fingertips.
If your team knows its product and how to build a relationship with the buyer, there’s no reason for a stalled sale. Listen to and address pain points specifically and don’t overload buyers with unnecessary information. Back up the conversation with easily-accessed and customized cloud-based reference material. In turn, prospects will be primed to sign on the dotted line.