Why sales professionals should NOT be ‘closing deals’

If you are a sales professional, here is a question that might have kept you awake on many nights:

“Why did a sales prospect that I was chasing, sign the deal with my competitor and not my company?”

A natural answer to this question is, maybe the competitor had a better solution to offer. But the answer is not always the same. There is a critical variable that often de-motivates a prospect from doing the sign-off.

For instance, it can also be because you forgot that he/she is a human and not just another ‘prospect,’ maybe? Or because you focused too much on closing the deal and not really on adding real value to the prospective customer?

It’s almost ritualistic for us to keep listening to our customers and getting to know their experience, on a daily basis. And since a significant chunk of our users (and by the way, have you tried us out. It’s free!) are sales professionals from across the globe, we churned out some interesting insights in this context, from many such conversations that we’ve had with them.

Here is a quick lowdown of the same, for you.

1. Stop being a bot, be human

In the age of doggedly tracking marketing metrics, user behavior and KPIs, it has become tough for sales professionals to look beyond a prospect from being just another number, to being a ‘human’.

Having a ‘real’ conversation with your prospect will get you more empathy than what the most brilliant sales pitch could ever get you.

Instead of taking your solution to the customer and pitching it to them, understand your customer’s life, their world, their pain-points. Pitching your solution as a the cure to one or some of their pain-points is a natural conversation kick-starter and not typically seen as a sales pitch.

2. Know the difference between follow-ups and spamming

As a sales professional, you must be all geared up to sell your product. But maybe, not the prospect.

In the time of high speed internet, more than one email identities and multiple social networking accounts, it is easy to reach your prospects but it is equally easy to end up bothering them if you do not plan your outreach efficiently.

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The only way to cut through clutter and gain their interest is to show them what value you can bring to their lives and the extent of its impact rather than approaching them with the intention to sell.

If you do not end up selling immediately, you would atleast end up establishing a great relationship, something that may convert into a customer-relationship if nurtured effectively.

3. Build a culture of instant customer gratification

We live in a time when a user instantly uninstalls an app if it takes a little more time (read few more seconds) than what it should ideally take, to launch on a device, or to offer delight. Being in this space, we understand this science well and every day we work towards ensuring that our customers are exposed to only the best possible experience.

The same logic applies in sales. Your prospects don’t have a lot of time to listen to you. Make efficient use of whatever airtime you get with them – be it on call, on emails or text message.

And follow the golden rule: do not keep your customers waiting. You definitely do not want to be seen as a ‘lazy’ company. Respond to them, let them know you are listening. This could be what makes or breaks your next conversion – from a prospect to a customer.

4. Value your prospect’s time

Just like you, your prospect might be experiencing time crunch. And their mode of response would typically depend on where they are, the mobile or computing device they are on and the resources they have at their disposal.

For instance, let us look at the very last stage of sales cycle – the conversion stage.

All sales related discussions are over and now you are about to send the sales contract to your prospect for signature. Like every time, you email the document to him/her and wait with bated breath for the prospect to take a print out of the document (which consists of multiple sheets), sign it, scan it and mail it back to you.

Isn’t it too much to ask for from your prospect, who is standing on that crucial threshold from where he could churn out or become a customer?

Imagine if one of the following entrepreneurs was your prospect in point to whom you sent the contract:

  • Scott Miller, American entrepreneur and game developer who prefers using e-signature (on his iPhone) to sign all his documents because he finds it much more convenient than printing out pages, signing them with a pen and scanning them back into the computer.
  • Arjun Pillai, Co-founder and CEO of Profoundis who uses e-signatures for reducing TATs of NDAs, partnership agreements and client agreements.
  • Sudeep Mishra, Co-founder and MD, TresVista Financial Services who uses e-signatures to get retainer contracts, NDAs, and more signed in a timely manner from his iPhone.

Because the natural preference of the above class of professionals is e-signatures, they find the traditional approach to contracts – printing, signing, scanning and mailing – a cumbersome exercise, eating up their productive time.

If you are a smart sales professional, you are always figuring ways to address such ‘thumbs-downs’ moments that could potentially affect the final conversion.

So, what’s the solution?

A simple solution here is to be always one step ahead of your customers’ evolving preferences and connecting with them through channels that they are most comfortable with.

In this specific context, if instead of expecting the prospect to do so much work (print, sign and then scan), you send the document and the prospect just needs to insert his electronic signature through any device he/she is carrying and then mail it back, how convenient it would be!

Such subtle but calculated changes in the way you approach prospects not only raises the level of customer delight notches up, it cuts short the sales cycle and decreases the chances of customer churn drastically.

In short, instead of forging an only-to-sell relationship with your prospects, go ahead and engage them by offering real value. They may or may not immediately convert to a customer but the good-will you generate would rub off on the brand and from then on, have a snowball effect on your future sales.

If you are a sales professional aspiring for excellence, and in case you’ve not checked our app yet, give us a spin here.

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