Eight tips to increase your sales conversions
When it comes to improving conversion rates, it can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of technology and software to lend a helping hand. But one thing that these technologies lack (no matter how advanced), is a human touch.
Successful sales all begin with the same thing: conversation. You read that right! Yes two words that are very similar but conversation does help with conversion – they go hand-in-hand.
Prospects want to buy from people, not brands. Human interaction and conversations can add value, reliability and trust. But how exactly can you use a personal touch and conversation to convert more leads?
1. It’s all about catching them at the right time
Determining the best time to schedule a call or meeting is a common challenge for sales teams. Call too early and you could risk catching the prospect in the midst of their morning rush (or still waking up); call too late and risk interrupting them during their post-work wind-down.
Generally, prospects are more likely to respond to calls at the end of the working day rather than first thing. They are 30% more likely to show up for a call that is scheduled between 3pm – 6pm, than they are if the call is scheduled between 10am – 12pm.
It’s easy to make the mistake of calling early in the day, assuming you’re going to catch prospects while they are bright-eyed and ready for the day ahead. In reality, many people are busy at this point in the day and work is in full-swing. On the other hand, if you catch them near the end of the working day, people have a lot less to think making them more open to interruptions and new ideas.
It’s also important to get back to a prospect in good time. Find out more in our blog, Lead response times: do they matter? Spoiler alert, yes they do!
2. Develop a good conversation structure
Although scripts are useful in guiding conversations and ensuring you get your point across, reading straight from them can make you sound like a robot.
Rather than having your sales team learn a script back-to-front and inside-out, we recommend implementing a structure which groups certain conversation topics together. Rather than viewing it as a script, think of it as a series of blocks to build conversation upon. This will allow your conversations to flow more naturally but still ensure you get all your key points across.
A good structure also allows the sales rep to answer questions as they arise, rather than dealing with questions after they have finished the script. Less pitchy, more chatty.
3. Know what you’re talking about
We know it seems obvious. But we can’t stress enough the importance of being an expert in your field. You’d be surprised to know that many sales reps lack crucial knowledge required to successfully pitch to their prospects.
In recent times, the traditional sales team has been whittled down to a number of specialised roles, all with their own particular area of expertise. When it comes to a sales call or meeting, however, you need to become a specialist in everything.
You must ensure that every person on the sales team that comes into contact with a key decision-maker is well-equipped with all of the knowledge that is necessary to handle any query that comes their way.
4. Build rapport
Never jump straight into the sales pitch. They aren’t just someone you’re selling to, they’re a person and it’s polite to get to know someone you’re talking to. The beautiful thing about small talk is that you can spark up a conversation about literally anything:
- Do you hear music playing in the background? Start a conversation on their favourite radio station, genre, or artist.
- Notice on LinkedIn that they recently moved from LA to London for work? Ask them how they are settling in and adjusting to the temperature difference.
- Has there recently been a seasonal holiday like Christmas or New Year? Ask them what they did to celebrate.
Not sure what to say? Just ask a question.
Building a strong rapport with the prospect will not only make the conversation easier for you, but it will make it easier for them too. Getting a natural conversation flowing at the beginning of the call or meeting will put both of you at ease.
5. Avoid features and focus on benefits
As blunt as it may seem, at the end of the day, people only care about themselves.
In reality, your prospect doesn’t care about your business or your product. What they really care about is what your product can do for them. What they want to know is the ways in which it can benefit them and help them overcome a specific problem or reach a certain goal.
By focusing too much on the features of your product, you risk losing your prospect. Features alone do not provide value, their benefits do.
The most successful sales reps spend up to 52% more time discussing the value that their product provides than other salespeople. They also spend nearly 40% less time discussing features and technical topics.
It can be easy to get pigeon-holed while discussing features of the product as someone who knows the business inside-out. But if you want to successfully convert those prospects, you need to flip your perspective and view your product from the outside-in. It is essential to look at everything from the prospect’s point of view, which involves gaining a true understanding of their needs and pain points.
You should use your product benefits to paint a clear picture of their new reality. By helping the prospect to visualise a better life with your product or service, excitement will build and you will be one step closer to closing that deal.
6. Ask targeted questions
Powerful questions will immediately invoke value upon the conversation. They can spark thought in the prospect and even help them identify issues which they may not even have realised yet.
We recommend identifying three or four pain points that your business could help with, then ask a few questions per pain point. For example, if unsuccessful email prospecting is one of the pain points faced by your prospect, you may consider asking them questions like:
- “Do you feel you could improve your email open rate?”
- “How satisfied are you with the quality of leads generated through your email marketing?”
- “Do you find that a chunk of your emails end up in spam?”
Side note: avoid asking questions as if you are going through a checklist. Space them throughout the conversation to make it seem more natural. Asking all of your questions at once can sound robotic and let’s face it, a bit overwhelming for your prospect.
7. Less talking, more listening
A common mistake in sales conversations is a bad talking to listening ratio.
It’s important to strike a balance between listening and talking, and you must ensure that you give the prospect a chance to speak and ask questions. And although in a sales pitch, you might think “of course, I should be talking more”, that isn’t the case. In any conversation, both people want to be heard.
Top-performing sales reps talk around 46% of the time, leaving the other 54% for listening. Lower performing reps talk up to nearly 70% of the time, leaving the prospect struggling to get a word in edgeways.
One thing you might come up against are reasons or excuses why they’re not interested even though you know they’d benefit from your product or service. Work out how to deal with those in our blog: Common sales objections and how to overcome them.
8. Build trust
No trust = no sale.
Trust is at the core of any successful sale. A prospect isn’t going to believe in your solution or see how they could get value from your product if they don’t trust you.
Much of the above tips are essential for building trust with your prospect. Building good rapport, communicating the benefits, strong knowledge and powerful questions all play a part in the prospect’s trust in your business. You may also want to include testimonials in your proposal or on your website if you have these available. What’s better than you recommending yourself? Someone else doing it!
Improving conversions through conversations can be tricky. Nearly as tricky as noticing the difference between those two words, especially after reading this blog!
But over time, the tips above will become habitual. At the end of the day, it is the sales call that has the biggest impact in converting prospects into paying customers. Therefore, this is where you should prioritise your efforts. You can do this by utilising sales automation tools for those tedious manual jobs.
Using an automated B2B sales engagement tool like Outbase means you can focus more time on perfecting your pitch, and getting those sales conversations going – and ultimately, convert more leads.
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