My first encounter with “sales” was in the primary school where I often spoke in the name of the class to call off the planned exam or to switch a verbal assignment for the next day. It hasn’t been always a successful shot, but it was worth trying. 🙂
I feel like this little experience helped me prepare for my current role – Sales Assistant at Inchoo.
Now, being some time with Inchoo and communicating with leads and clients from all over the world on daily basis, I’ve gained a decent experience even though I’ve been working here for just 8 months. With that in my mind, I came up with an idea to share a few thoughts (you can call it – tips) on how to win a prospective client.
Bear in mind that everyone handles processes a bit differently and I’m about to share it from my own perspective based on my own experience.
So, let’s start with them randomly arranged.
1. Always be nice!
We get many inquiries thanks to all of our inbound marketing efforts but not every inquiry is a high-quality one. Whatever is being asked, my advice is to always try to respond nicely.
There is no need to be rude, even if the other side is being a bit provocative like: “… for that price I can build three Magento websites!” or “What are you doing if you need 3 months to deliver the project!”
Respond with attentive tone and outline facts they didn’t take into consideration. Being nice never hurt anybody. Sooner or later it will return to you in the most positive way.
2. Thoroughly study what your lead wants but it might not always be what they need
On rare occasions, they will want to have developed something that is not a good investment. If so, your job is to advise them that what they want can undermine their business. Instead of following their way just to win it, strongly suggest the right direction to go.
It may result in losing them but it’s more likely that they will thank you later.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Very frequently, we get inquiries with the lack of information such as: “I need a Magento website. Please let me know time and cost”.
In order to be able to quote something like this, you have to ask questions to learn more about what kind of site they are looking to build, what functionalities new store should have and more. Leads sometimes don’t realize how little information they provided so it’s up to you to point that out.
In a situation where it’s unclear what is being said, instead of making assumptions, always ask them to confirm what you were guessing.
4. You have to believe in service you’re selling
In my opinion, this is the most important one. You have to honestly believe in your service and in winning it. If you believe, you’re already half way there.
5. Create and foster an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence
Although this hint is more effective when you’re working for some time with the client, in very early stage of communication you can still show that you’re reliable and trusting person.
The simplest thing you can do is to always be on time. Communicate to a lead when you will be able to deliver a proposal or more details and then deliver accordingly. Consider delivering it even a bit earlier.
Certainly, you will experience situations where something will come up and you’ll be unable to fulfill the promise. Don’t stress! In this case, make sure to send an apology for a delay and explain reasons behind it. Don’t forget to submit a new date of delivery. Your honesty will be appreciated.
6. Learn more about the prospective client
Small gestures can be the icing on the cake so pay attention to them.
Today, with many social media profiles, it takes a few seconds to check if there are some appealing information available for both a lead and/or their company.
Seek this information and see if anything can be applicable. You can find out from a LinkedIn profile that they’re having a birthday in a few days or that the company recently received an award.
Unobtrusively, congratulate them. Your gesture will for sure win you some points. These kind of actions cost you nothing, however they show how thoughtful you are.
7. Try to be one step ahead!
Earlier this year, I presented a lead with a rough ballpark written in an email for a discussed project. He informed me that he needs to check it out with his directors and afterwards he would get back to me.
In that moment, I had two options. First was clearly to wait for his response. And the second option was to read between lines. Since he needed director’s approval, why shouldn’t I invest some time and create an official proposal even though he hasn’t asked for it? It’s not professional to present a director with three sentences in an email. This move proved to be the key. After the proposal was sent, soon we closed the deal.
This tip is closely linked with your intuition. Try to figure out what kind of person is on the other side and set a strategy according to that. A good salesperson has the ability to “read” people.
8. Sometimes NO is the answer that leads you to a deal
Two situations crossed my mind. In both situations saying no was a tough, but the right decision. I will explain the one that has recently occurred.
I was very near to closing a deal with a huge lead. He was familiar with our processes but didn’t like the fact that he was being presented with worked hours instead of fixed price. On several occasions, he asked if we could make an exception and offer him a fixed bid. It was a tough decision to say no, but I had no choice. Going with a fixed price when there is a lot of uncertainty in the project is like playing Russian roulette. A wrong decision can lead to a situation where both developers and client may be unsatisfied.
Ultimately, this lead has recognized the value of our explanation and has decided to work with us.
9. Let it go!
And I’m not about to write the lyrics of the song from Frozen. 😉
Although it can be a double-edged sword, sometimes you just need to let it go. You’ve skyped with a lead, introduced them with processes, sent a proposal, even offered a discounted price but they are still having second thoughts and you don’t know what else you can do. Give them some time to process it all and let it go.
Eventually, they might accept your offer, but even if they don’t – it’s not the end of the world. You can’t be a good match for everyone. Accept it and wish them good luck. Soon, they might contact you back…!
These nine pieces of advice really came from my personal journey and what was working best for me. In a few months, it’s most likely that this list will expand and be revised. It will be interesting to keep track of it.
But in the meantime, I’m curious to hear what are your experiences with sales and which tips have been most effective to you.
Feel free to share the ones I haven’t mentioned.
Let’s learn from each other!