“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
-John C. Maxwell
When you’re a sales professional, customers are looking to you for leadership throughout the sales process. They want you to take them through the steps in the process, sharing your expertise with them and providing them with a map that will help them make clear, confident decisions about the products you’re recommending. Be the leader! You’re the most qualified individual in the room for helping your customers find the product they need most.
Between 35-50% of sales go to the first person to respond to a query. That means that as a sales professional, you have to be ready when a potential customer first reaches out. Don’t hesitate when that moment comes! Be confident in the product you’re offering, know what tools you have at hand, and make an offer that the customer can’t turn down.
Know Your Stuff
Ideally, you want to be able to speak comfortably about a variety of subjects related to your business. If you’re a real estate agent, you want to know something about the areas your homes are in, the average cost of living for that area, and the types of neighbors your customers should expect. Be prepared with recommendations for area professionals who can repair home-related issues. If you’re not familiar with the answer to a question that keeps coming up during the sales process, find out the answer! The more knowledgeable you are, the more confidence you can impart to your customers.
Know Your Customers
Depending on what you’re selling, you might not have very long to learn about your customers. On the other hand, with experience, you can learn to extrapolate a great deal from a few pieces of information. Get to know your customers. Ask good, open ended questions. While it takes time to get to know your customers, you can piece together the information they do give you to learn more about their needs early so you’re better able to deliver.
Fast fact: around 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up, but 80% of sales require at least five follow-ups in order to be closed. Customers are waiting for you to step in and lead them the rest of the way through the process. There are several reasons a customer might not have gotten back to you:
- They’re still in the process of making a decision and don’t want to appear over-eager
- They’ve misplaced contact information (or weren’t interested enough to gather it in the first place)
- They’re still looking at competitors to see who has the best deal–and that includes the best customer service
- They don’t know how to proceed in the buying process
In many cases, customers who are making a big purchase might feel “stuck.” They know they need to move forward, but they’re not sure how to proceed from here. That means that they’re relying on you to take charge and show them the next steps in the process, from encouraging them to take a car for a test drive to discussing the best place in town to look for drapes to match their new furniture. You’re the pro–so get out there and lead!
The sales funnel is a complicated process, especially when you’re selling big ticket items. Customers need someone to guide them through that process and give them a better look at what’s waiting for them along the way–and that’s a role in which you excel. By taking charge and leading your customers through the process, you can develop a higher level of confidence, increase your sales, and watch customer satisfaction soar.