In any endeavor, without a plan competent enough to account for the idea of success we are guaranteed an absolute chaotic disaster, the same can be said when it comes to engaging prospects, converting leads, and creating business. Absent some key steps described below, all efforts might as well be a total loss without any value creation.
As an entrepreneur or a sales person, the objective of both positions is to create business and we can only create business by finding prospects, converting them to leads, and making a sale. There are many steps in between each of those that we have to take in order to create the opportunity for a business relationship to happen.
Create a service that is needed in the marketplace
This can be difficult or hard depending on one’s approach to it. There are a lot of entrepreneurs that have developed products and services based on their personal experience and from knowing that there are other people who are experiencing the same challenges. In this type of scenario, a research investment that may ordinarily be significant, comes down to a more manageable sum. This is because the individual entrepreneur experiencing the challenge that he or she is developing a solution for is simultaneously conducting research on themselves on the viability of the product.
Creating an amazing service that is needed in the marketplace is easier said than done. Though this is where it pays to conduct the appropriate level of research into the viability of a product or service and the market need for it. You may need to verify the service is needed through surveys before you spend much time launching a new service.
Find prospects who have an urgent desire for your service
Similar to the paragraph preceding this one, research is important in order to plan and orient marketing efforts. The investment, time, and resource involved in researching product or service viability depends on how big you want to go. The general wisdom is to start small and then scale.
This is simply a process of defining your target market. Who is that target market that has a need for the particular product or service that the solution is being developed for. Find prospects who have an urgent desire for your service. There are several programs to use to find your target customers. This may be geographical, by searching physical locations they visit frequently, or even online groups or websites visited.
Create advertisement to show off your work
If you understand that there is a need in the market place, the purpose of creating an advertisement or some sort of outreach and awareness campaign is to inform the target group that a solution exists. If the marketing is executed correctly, then the result is inbound leads.
Create advertisement to show off your work, introduce a new product or service, or possibly add testimonials. If you reach out to the right audience at the right time and showcase your services, you will get attention. Provide your prospects with the best way to get in touch with your company with an enticing offer.
Build rapport, have interactive conversations
This is demonstrated supremely well by Joshua Esnard who developed a number of tools designed to help average people like you and me all the way up to professional barbers make better haircuts. This entrepreneur engaged prospects through videos telling his story and the story of the product. He demonstrated the viability of his product to the target group.
Once prospects get in contact with you, engage them in an interactive conversation. Build rapport by getting to know them and their needs. Ask thoughtful questions that will build credibility and get them to like and trust you and your company.
Ask questions and get feedback
Today our ability to engage our customers and prospective target groups is as simple as asking a question on social media and engaging directly with people. It has never been easier to get feedback from individuals who would benefit and value a particular product or service
Ask your prospects a few strategic questions to help you create a winning presentations. Questions such as “how does this advertisement feel”, and “what do you think of this new product?” You will want to ask them the timeframe in which they want your product or service, their expected price range for such a product or service. You will want solutions that fit their needs, so consider your service offerings and ask questions to get a clear grasp of which level of service is right for them. Sometimes their decision will be price based and sometimes it’s the highest level of service they desire.
Depending on your organization, there may be opportunities to engage prospects and any number of ways including setting appointments with a few of them for a 1-to-1 conversation. In taking this approach, we’re not only getting feedback, but building relationships with potential customers.
Schedule an exclusive appointment with them to give them individual attention. While you have them on the phone or on your website, provide an easy way to set up an appointment quickly. If it’s in-person, you will want to stress the importance getting on your calendar quickly as spots are limited. If you’re not quite booked with appointments, offer only a few spaces to create a realistic sense of urgency.
Create a presentation geared to fit a specific need
Once you have an appointment and have the answers to your specific questions, you will create a presentation geared to fit their specific needs. As you get more familiar with a new service or product offering, you will quickly be able to customize your presentation.
The search for prospects, sales, or leads puts us invariably in the position of a salesperson or an entrepreneur and there really is no difference between the two. The objective of both positions is to create business. In one instance the entrepreneur owns the potential value that results and in the other instance the salesperson owns the value of the relationship. Both positions employe similar processes for creating business.
They say the 90% of the job is just showing up. It’s hard to believe, but most contractors, business owners, and salespeople fail to actually show up to their own appointment and on-time. Be well prepared, rehearse your presentation, have materials ready to show your various options to choose from. I like to show three options.
I categorize them in three different price ranges and then offer a menu of choices under each price bracket. This helps to narrow down the options without asking the “What’s your budget” question. They will rarely tell you their real budget and often may not even have any idea of how much your services will cost.
Use a consultative selling approach gain trust and earn credibility
If you honestly create a solution for prospects with their best interests in mind, you will have a better chance of gaining their trust and therefore, getting more referrals and repeat business. Remember to offer an upset bonus on every offer. This may be a warranty offer, an additional service for a discount, or another unique offer to get them to do more business with you.
Use a consultative selling approach gain trust and earn credibility. When delivering your presentation, you will be able to listen to their needs and wants and create a solution that fits their specific needs. Prospects sometimes solely rely upon you to guide them to the right decision. It’s always best to help them make the best decision for what they said they wanted in step #5.
Ask for the job!
Ask for the job! Too many times, the salesperson will go through the whole presentation and then fail to ask the prospect to go to the next step. This doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to do it the old way, like a used car salesman. Just simply recap all the options you’ve presented, match them with the same wording the client used both in the initial conversation, on the survey or in-person and give them a few choices so that they don’t feel manipulated into making a bad choice.
Sometimes you can point out the “Best Choice” or the “Best Value” option and ask them if that’s the one they would like to go with today. The way you phrase it could make or break the deal! Be sure not to give them the opportunity to say, “No,” “Not at this time,” or “I’m going to get a few bids first.” Your presentation should answer all those questions ahead of time.
* TIP: You want your prospect to be sold on you and your service before the presentation if possible.