May 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

Are you scaring away your sales prospects?

Are you scaring away your sales prospects?

79300175You probably don’t think of yourself as a scary person. Generally, you might even classify yourself as likeable – but you can’t really figure out what the problem is when it comes to sales prospects. Regardless of the source of the first touch, following up with and educating prospects is an art form. It takes years to understand. There have been many, many books written about that perfect sales cycle, how many times you should touch a prospect, and what types of information you should offer them. You’ve probably read them all. Yet when we you reach out to follow up with your prospects, you don’t get anything back. No response. And so they fall through the cracks and, ultimately, when they’re ready to buy they don’t choose you. But what was it? Were you overeager? Maybe. Let’s look at a few things that turn prospects off and see how you might be able to tweak your process to eliminate the fear factor and stigma that’s often placed on sales people. pod meeting

464629085Coming on too strong.

Just like in the initial stages of any new relationship, a prospect wants to chase after whatever it is they want. They want to do their research and feel comfortable that you’re the right fit. When a salesperson immediately approaches someone at, say, a car dealership, it might come with a bit of a stigma. People don’t want to be sold. People want to make decisions for themselves. The moment that a buyer feels they’re losing control or being pushed in a certain direction, they automatically retract their interest and revert to their safe zone. By living in a more cautious mode, they can guarantee they won’t be talked into something. But when customers do this, they fall out of learning mode. Being on the defensive starts the relationship off on the wrong foot and prevents you from educating your prospect. Balance your approach and let the customer come to you to avoid being overeager.

Not providing the right information when they ask.

As important as that first impression and not seeming overeager is, you want to balance the information that you’re providing to your prospect. I had a prospect tell me today, “No one responds to my e-mails. But I don’t understand. They contacted us. Why wouldn’t they want to talk to me?” Well, it all really depends what they asked for. On that particular company’s website is a “Request a brochure” form, to which they were responding that asked their potential customer to call them back. I asked my prospect if they sent the brochure, they said no. Sometimes it’s as simple as giving your potential customer exactly what they’re asking for. Other times, it’s as simple as sitting back and letting potential customers nurture. If you offer a bottom of the funnel offer like a case study to a prospect that is still learning exactly why they need your service, you’re pushing the wrong information. Be sure that you have a process, whether manual or via lead nurturing, which gives prospects all the information they’re asking for when they need it.

Making assumptions.

Never assume that you know anything about your prospect until you’ve gathered the appropriate amount of prospect intelligence. A buyer is not a “demographic” of people. You can’t assume that you know them. Rather than lumping your prospects into an “audience” or “demographic”, take the time to assess your current customers, discover how they found you and develop personas that will give you a true snapshot for a day in the life of your target buyer.

All of these tactics may have worked in the old-school sales world, but in today’s world buyers are becoming more savvy and don’t want to be treated like a number. Tailoring your marketing and sales efforts to your buyer without pushing too hard will go a long way towards nurturing your prospects down the funnel and on the way to becoming customers.

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