Inside Sales (I.S.) must have a clear understanding that they are not going to sell to EVERYONE. Even sales superstars will make many more calls to Leads that don’t buy than to Leads that do. If I.S. don’t understand that simple rule they will treat every phone call as a competition, and that attitude will only alienate potential customers.
Like Schroedinger’s Cat, which is both Alive and Dead UNTIL the box is opened and we find out the truth, UNTIL you get on the phone with your customer the status of your prospective sale is both WON AND LOST. Paradoxically speaking, your customer exists in both states, so you can’t go into the call EXPECTING to make a sale because you don’t know whether he CAN become a customer or NOT.
Establishing RAPPORT when you can’t make a sale will leave the door open for another day. If I.S. starts the call from the premise that they need to achieve their daily target, the call becomes about THEM and NOT about the Customer. The most likely outcome is LOSE/LOSE (Supplier loses the sale and customer loses the benefit that comes with the product/service they didn’t buy).
If you really want to play WIN/WIN then you need to show a real interest in the customer from the first contact and begin from a standpoint of NOT KNOWING whether you have ANYTHING to sell until you have managed to get the customer to ADMIT that he has a PROBLEM or NEED that your product/service can address.
Most good Sales Trainers and Coaches will advise a 1:2 mouth:ears ratio which is not enough listening!. It should be nearer 80% listening to 20% talking. We can show a real interest in the customer through probing and drilling down.
ASK open questions to discover….
- WHY the customer would NEED or WANT your product?
- WHO exactly in their company would use it?
- WHAT problem would it solve for THEM?
- WHAT would it enable them to do that they can’t do now?
- WHY is that important to the business?
- WHAT would that benefit be WORTH to THEM?
- HOW do they FEEL about the possibility of owning it?
- HOW would THEY justify a purchase?
- WHEN would they need it by?
- WHY did they choose that date?
- WHERE would they need it delivered?
No hard sell here, and the customer has either TALKED THEMSELVES into buying your product/service, or you have learned why they are NOT going to become a customer today, as well as why they MIGHT become a customer in the future.