Don't Always Be Closing
Never was there a more mindless lack of strategy.
I spent some time recently with a group of entrepreneurs discussing how to sell more effectively.
One participant had been making cold calls for an insurance company, hundreds of calls a month over six months without a single sale.
The answer according to our attendees was to put in more effort, make twice as many calls and always be closing.
It is as though they completely forgot that there is a person on the other side of the phone with their own needs and concerns.
If your entire focus is on closing your sale, then you are ignoring the customer.
The surprising thing is that this strategy works about 0.2% to 1% of the time. It seems to me in this information age that nobody would buy from a cold call. Why would anybody ever purchase as a result of a cold call from someone who is not at all interested in their needs?
The reason it works sometimes is that randomly someone happens to understand what the salesperson is selling and have that need at the moment of the call. The entire approach requires that random people just happen to be interested in precisely what you are selling at precisely the moment you are selling it.
So, if you call enough people eventually you will find a customer.
But the strategy is an arduous waste. Anything with a 0.2% to 1% success rate or a 99%+ failure rate is a lousy way to go.
Ask a surgeon.
I pointed this out to our group of entrepreneurs, and their next question was: how do we fix the sales pitch?
In the first instance, we don’t. Instead, we stop focusing on the sales pitch and pushing along the transaction and move the focus to talking to the right people.
Instead of figuring out a better way to close faster a much more effective strategy is to reach out to the right people. Stop closing and start engaging.
Here is how:
First, start to develop a marketing strategy that connects with prospects and shows them how you solve their problems.
When they get how you make their life better, they will be much more likely to buy from you.
One fear that comes up is that people will self-select out of your targets. This is a good thing! If you are always closing 99% of the people you talk to are a waste of your time and their time.
Second, set this up as an automated campaign.
Create a lead magnet that explains the problem you solve and for whom. Create an automated campaign to follow up and engage without you having to exert any effort. This is the mechanism by which people either opt out or continue the relationship.
The technology is available, use it!
Third, follow up with and sell to those who express interest - only those who are interested.
This will cut your effort in half (or more) while upping your close rate to 10%, 20% even 30%. You have fewer calls and the calls you do have yield much better results.
That is why marketing is so powerful – it isn’t about improving the transactional conversation but instead figuring out who the right people to talk to are.
As one of our architect clients told us: “I used to think that my client was whoever was on the other end of the phone.”
He spent a lot of time on the phone.
Now he spends a lot of time designing buildings.
Which would you prefer?