As a salesperson it’s often difficult to keep your spirits up when your prospects inform you that they won’t be taking their enquiries any further, so here we’re going to share some top tips to help you book more sales meetings and demonstrations, enabling you to not only keep your pipeline full of new opportunities but to increase your chances of a sale, too.
Initial conversations with prospects are often difficult to initiate, and it can always be hard to find a rhythm that enables you to reach a point where you’re comfortable enough to get your message across clearly, concisely and effectively; but there are a number of ways in which you can steer the conversation in the direction you would like it to go in without coming across as the stereotypical ‘pushy’ salesperson.
The most important thing to remember is that you’re talking to a person, just like yourself, who is out to do the best for themselves and the company they work for. While you’re in the same position attempting to make a sale, that person needs to be sure that whatever they buy is right for them and their company as, ultimately, the decision lies with them. If it’s a poor investment then board members and managers will look to the decision maker and start asking questions, so it’s easy to see why so many are sceptical about buying a product or service from a salesperson over the phone or by email.
That’s why arranging a sales meeting or demonstration is so important. It gives you as the salesperson the opportunity to run through the product or service with someone who is already semi-engaged or at least vaguely familiar with what it is you’re trying to sell them, and on a demonstration you have the chance to give them a tour of the product and showcase all of its key features.
The question is: how do you arrange this sales meeting or demo? Let’s take a look.
When to bring up the option for a demonstration or meeting
This is the one where a lot of salespeople fall down. The initial aim is always to get through to a demonstration or to arrange a meeting, and because people are so keen to achieve that goal they go in very heavy early on. Instead, waiting until your follow-up conversation, or even close to the end of the call can be much more effective.
This is because you’ve given the prospect time to digest the information you’ve given them, think about it and make a decision that they’d like to take the conversation further. Listening and learning is every bit as important as trying to book-in that meeting or demonstration, and you need to think on your feet as a salesperson to ensure that you take the right approach to every call. There’s no one-size-fits-all method to selling and you’ll speak to people who are at different stages of the buying process, ranging from assessing the options open to them to those who are sitting there with a credit card in their hand ready to fill in the details and sign-up.
Here we’re going to look at a few different prospects and how you should be speaking to them in order to book more meetings and demonstrations.
How to speak to new prospects
A conversation with a completely new prospect is a challenging one, because you need to assess the situation as you’re going along. It may be that they are completely unaware of who you are and what you do, but they’ve responded to a marketing email wishing to learn a little bit more before they make any decisions, or it might be the case that they want to get straight down to business by arranging a demonstration for an hour’s time before signing on the dotted line (we can dream, right?)
The most important thing to remember about any conversation with a completely new prospect is that they need to be engaged and informed, so you need to find some mutual ground and a way of striking up a conversation that enables you to progress through the details at a pace that enables them to respond and ask questions. If you take a bull-in-a-china-shop approach you’re going to lose them, because it’ll be like a whirlwind of information when they prefer more of a light, gentle breeze!
Listening is every bit as important as getting your own message across, so be sure to provide your prospect with enough time to speak about their own needs, ask any questions and explain what - if anything - they are looking for. You then have the ability to adapt your approach as the conversation progresses, so you can explain about some of the exciting features that help you to stand out, a current promotion you might be running exclusively for new prospects over the phone, or how you can help solve their problem.
It might be that this approach makes all the difference as your standard sales conversation may not cover the kind of detail the prospect needs. Or, they might feel that the standard packages you offer are out of their price range, but an offer you can pitch just for them (with your manager’s approval, of course) might convince them to book a further meeting with you alongside their colleagues or to run through a demo to see it in action.
How to speak to engaged prospects
With prospects who already know a little about who you are and what you can offer you need a slightly different approach. Rather than speaking to them as though they are completely new to the product or service, you’re in a tricky area where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing!
A prospect at this stage is already in the purchase funnel and that means they’re potentially willing and able to make a decision at this stage, or at least book in a demonstration prior to signing up. This means that you can talk to them in a bit more detail, explaining some of the finer points and specifications that you may not normally talk about in an opening conversation.
These prospects might be on your marketing mailing list or signed up to receive your newsletters or even blog posts, and this means they’ve been reading up on what you do and what you can offer them. As such they are likely to be relatively well-informed and you need to steer them carefully towards either a demonstration or a meeting where you can pitch the product or service to a wider team of decision makers.
Again, listen to what it is they’re looking for and you can then find a way of explaining how the product or service will fit their need and how a demonstration or meeting might benefit them so that they can see it in action and then decide. The questions at this stage in the process are much more likely to be geared towards arranging a face-to-face meeting, booking a demo or even signing up so anything you’re asked at this stage is likely to have a motive behind it, you just need to ensure that you’re ready with the information to satisfy that need.
Arranging a follow-up conversation
Whether your prospect is completely new and wants to go away and think for a while or discuss it with colleagues and decision makers, or they’re a fair way down the purchase funnel, arranging a follow-up conversation can always give them that little bit of thinking space prior to making a decision on whether or not to book a demo, arrange a meeting or sign up.
By offering a follow-up conversation in a matter of days you show them that you’re willing to wait for them to decide, rather than pushing them into a corner. Many meetings and demonstration opportunities are lost not only because salespeople don’t get the opportunity to book them in, but because they try to do everything in one call - the information, the pitch and the sale.
If you step back and allow your prospects to work at their own pace, to run questions by you, to speak to the wider team about the product and how it can benefit them, and to come back with further questions relating to the product, you increase your chances of getting a demonstration or meeting in the diary.
Offering to get back in touch shows that you’re willing to work to their schedule and to speak to other members of the team should they wish to join the call or meeting. If nothing else, this shows that you have engaged with the prospect and they are interested, they’re just not able to sign on the dotted line at this moment in time.
You should also make notes on your call that you can type and email across to the prospect, enabling them to read through the conversation and pick up on anything they may have missed during the conversation, along with any links to useful resources that could help them learn more or spark further interest and questions leading to another meeting or your demonstration.
Once you’ve got that follow-up in the diary you can do more research into their business, their needs and how you can solve their problems.
5 top tips from the Meet Hugo sales team
We always look to practice what we preach here at Meet Hugo, and our sales manager Jemma Jones has these five takeaways for you:
- Always make sure you are booking a demo with a decision maker. This way you don’t need to repeat the meeting and increase your chances of a buy-in following the presentation.
- Find the prospect’s pain points on the call so that you can explain how your product or service can resolve them.
- Listen and understand why the prospect is interested in your services.
- Make sure that you have an opinion - one way or the other - from the prospect so they can make a decision on the demo or soon after.
- Ensure the prospect is aware that you’ll be expecting an outcome - one way or another - on the demo, but be willing to follow-up with further answers to questions that may follow.