Sales: Convert More Leads

Getting to the top of the sales chart seems like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.  Sure; it takes time to build a pipeline in any industry but the foundation of any sales job is essentially the same.

With all the sales positions I’ve held in the past, there were always three key areas that seemed to make the most difference.  It had nothing to do with looks, how much coffee I drank, or the damage my attire did to my wallet.

Most of the people you see in sales tend to overcomplicate things, but I  believe that it’s a very simple process regardless of what you’re selling.

Stay Into Curiosity

Asking questions accomplishes two main things: it keeps the conversation going with your lead and also helps you build rapport.  Staying into curiosity will keep you focused on asking meaningful questions.

Lead: I don’t really know when we’re looking to buy a home.  I was mostly curious.

Me: No worries – I actually have a lot of clients that are just looking around; kicking around ideas about that new house.  Did you have an idea on what kind of things you wanted in a home if you ever decided to move?

Lead: Well, the kids have been asking for a pool and I honestly hate our neighborhood pool.

Me: I can understand that.  My son loves to swim, but our neighborhood pool gets crowded during the summer.  You know – most homes are undervalued at the moment so you can probably pick something up for a steal.  Did you see any you liked online?

This looks like a traditional conversation, right? We’ve all come across the eager salesperson who rambles on and on about their product, and doesn’t give you the opportunity to speak.  Make a statement, two sentences at most (unless you have to explain something in detail), then ask a question.  It’s their turn!

You’ll find that as you continue to educate yourself in your field, your confidence with speaking with a lead directly or over the phone vastly improves.  A lead can sniff a newbie from a mile away.  Build your confidence to disguise any notion that you’re new in the business.  If you lack confidence and are an industry veteran, you’ve got bigger problems!

Combine this with a firm understanding of scripts and you’re well on your way.

Communicate Openly and Frequently

When converting a lead, and even after you’ve scored a deal, maintaining open and frequent communication builds strong advocates.  You want that person to become your raving fan. Whether it be a simple storefront sale or a month long ordeal, effective communication is almost a default client expectation.

If you have bad news to deliver, knock it out early.  First, make sure you thoroughly understand how the situation you’re in transpired and research options for digging yourself out of the hole.  This is key.  When you drop a bomb on a client, they expect you to have solutions on how to move beyond issue.  Never give bad news when you’re unprepared!

You may also want to invest in software that allows you to keep track of your clients and assign tasks that serve as reminders to follow up later.  Did you finish a phone call and need to call them tomorrow?  Set it and forget it.  You’re going to be running ragged with tasks for new and existing clients.  Chances are that your going to eventually forget to make that call you promised at 8:30am before you had your daily cup of jo.

There are two options that immediately come to mind; ACT! and Highrise.

The oldest is ACT! by Sage. You’ll install ACT! locally to your computer and have more control over the database.  It does the job but it’s not exactly the prettiest piece of software on the planet.  Having it local is nice, and there are also advanced management features for the power users out there, but I would assume that represents a very low number of people.

37 Signals: Highrise

There is also online software, like Highrise, that charges you monthly and is quite a bit more affordable upfront.  I’m lenient towards these options simple because the learning curve is much easier to manage.  No one wants to be bombared with a 100 page manual on a piece of software that’s supposed to help you.

The biggest benefit, and often overlooked, to adopting software to help manage your clients is almost an immediate switch from being reactive to proactive.  When you can view an entire list of tasks for the day, you can begin to break it into manageable chunks of time to keep you dollar productive.

Memorize scripts.  Internalize.  Then Customize.

Every industry has scripts.  Some industry scripts, like real estate, have been around for ages and you can simply pick them up from any established salesperson at your company.  If you’re like me, however, you’ll usually start with your own script and evolve it as you discover what works and what doesn’t.

First, memorize the script.  Ideally, you’ll want to practice with someone that can challenge you with unexpected responses.  You can involve family pets if you’d like, but they make for boring conversation while sober.

After you’ve memorized your script, internalize it.  This naturally occurs after you’ve used it dozens of times in the field, and are able to use them on a moments notice without having to read off a sheet of paper.  You’ll find yourself pulling scripts out of thin air as you converse with a potential client you’ve met at a social event.

Last, customize to suit your style.  I customize last for a vey important reason: if you decide to customize every script you come across first, how do you truly know what works?  If the script you’re working with works, why change it?  You’ll never know what works unless you stick with a variation of it for some time and track the results.

Keep in mind that a script will feel foreign to you at first.  These aren’t your words.  However, once you’ve memorized and internalized the script, you’ll soon discover that they become your words.  I was floored with 3 months into real estate, I began to sound like my broker.  My scripts came from him, and they were proven to work effectively.

Never customize a proven script from the start; it may already work!

Final Thoughts

The most difficult part of this entire process is making sure you get out of your own way.  Don’t fear your own success (it’s more common than you think).  Give yourself an opportunity to master these core components of any sales position and enjoy the ride to the top.

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