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BizGrowth Part 07: The Sales Optimisation System

Are you leaving money on the table?

You will leave this video knowing:

The importance of a well-structured scorecard/diagnostic tool

How to build rapport and not just a pipeline

Some of the key questions you should be asking

How you could be missing out the best “gold nuggets: in finding your ideal clients”

How using the phone isn’t dead, nor is direct mail

Your ideal product mix and how to seize opportunities from what you will have learnt

Summary

You will tap into Rupert and Alex’s knowledge of the sales industry, offering a different spin on the age-old art of sales. Could you be missing a few of these tricks in your business?

You will learn how you can work with hot prospects to determine if there is a good fit and how you can close those pieces of business.

We will guide you through the client journey and gain insight into the way our clients are made to feel. Although there are guidelines we follow, it is important that we all remember it is important that you ask twice as many questions as you may give out as benefits (ie two ears and one mouth principle).

Transcript:

 

ALEX:

Hello everyone, Alex Smith here, Rupert Honywood, from Business Growth Bureau. Thank you so much for joining us now on the seventh episode. This is sales optimisation. Previously, we were looking at the actual prospect nurturing side of it, we gave away the methodology and the tonality that we use throughout those messages. Now what we’re going to be looking at is, what do I do once someone’s put their hand up? What do I do once they’ve asked for more information or even asked for a sales-based conversation.

And to make this easy for everybody watching to listen to what we’re about to talk about, we’re going to break it into three sections. We’re going to look at pre-meeting, what that actually looks like, whether it’s a phone call, whether it’s a Zoom call, what does that look like?

We’re then going to look at, what do I do during the meeting, what kind of things am I saying and what are we wording and what do I do after the meeting, what kind of follow-up, what kind of value do I share after a meeting?

Rupert, where do we start with this? (0:53)

 

RUPERT:

As you’ve already mentioned, we’ve got people now through a previous process where they’re putting their hands up and asking for more information or to have a sales-based conversation.

 

ALEX:

Just for people watching, remind us, what were those numbers? (1:05)

 

RUPERT:

The numbers basically, if you started off with 100 people at the top, you should be able to end up with about 8 to 13 out of 100 actually putting their hands up and asking for a conversation.

 

ALEX:

And they’re hot prospects, aren’t they? (1:15)

 

RUPERT:

They’re regarded as hot prospects. Just to further qualify this, obviously a hot prospect is someone who’s got to that stage but obviously there’s always some further steps beyond that. Of course, to warm a prospect up even further you may invite them onto a webinar, which could then lead on to a phone call and to a meeting, or you may choose to skip that step altogether. Anyway, the first part.

 

ALEX:

And this is pre-meeting? (1:43)

 

RUPERT:

It’s pre-meeting. So what we recommend is that you set up either a phone call or a short video call to start with. The purpose of that call is first of all to make sure that lead or prospect is a really good fit for you as an organisation and equally the other way around. So as much as possible it’s about sharing lots of value, asking lots of questions, really drilling down.

Then if it looks like that’s a really good fit, then to take the person on to the next stage, which would be to invite the person either to a physical meeting or to a video call, but prior to that it’s very important that you also have collateral which you can send out prior to that meeting.

 

ALEX:

Before we get onto that, that’s an interesting point. For people watching, and listening to us on podcast, and obviously once again thank you for joining us, what would be the key three or five questions to ask for pre-qualification? So, I’ve put my hand up, I’m interested. What are the top three or top five pre-qualifying questions that people could either write down or use for themselves? What would be those top questions you could ask to really qualify people in or out? (2:54)

 

RUPERT:

The first thing is to try and learn from the potential client what their pain points are, so what are some of the biggest challenges that they’re actually facing.

 

ALEX:

And do I start with asking what’s working well now so that it’s not negative, or do I go in straight away with… how do I address that? (3:09)

 

RUPERT:

You’ve answered that well yourself because you could either start off with the challenges or you could determine from them what’s working really well. Both of those points need to be part of that initial conversation. The next point from that is then to really drill down in terms of determining what they actually want, what’s going to be really important for them or their business.

 

ALEX:

And would that be questions such as, ignoring where you are today, what does the ideal next year look like? Those kinds of questions? (3:44)

 

RUPERT:

Yes, and it could be if you’re helping for example with business growth or performance or whatever it may be, it’s about what that might look in say, three or five years’ time as well.

 

ALEX:

It would be good to take a step back and think for you as an individual watching or listening, who is your ideal client? Certain clients are going to have different trigger points, so if I’m a CEO of 250+ employees, my future goals might be very different to the company’s but I can’t focus on that because it’s the company that’s important. Whereas, if I’m a sole consultant, say I’m a one-girl or one-guy band and I’m just trying to grow my company, my personal goals are very much entwined with what the company goals are.

So when you sit there and ask those kinds of questions, that’s really important to ask who is your ideal client? If I’m talking to a CEO, his personal goals might not be relevant or reflect the business goals, but if I’m a single consultant, my personal goals might be very much entwined with my business goals. (4:41)

 

RUPERT:

We can fall into a trap ourselves because we’ve repeatedly referred to the fact that for every 100 at the top gate, 13 hot prospects at the back end out of that; now, to some people that’s too much, they don’t feel they can cope with it, to get those leads or prospects in over that short period of time. So it’s about trying to find out, make sure there is a real alignment in terms of expectations and needs.

Of course, part of that phone call as well is making sure that the person has got the desire and the ability to pay for your service, product you happen to sell.

 

ALEX:

Just going back on one point quickly because you’ve just mentioned it, for all watching or listening, it’s quite important to mention that you’re in control of this whole process, aren’t they? The people watching, you’re in control of the amount of scale and effort you put in. So if you want to build 100 new leads or 1,000 new, you’re completely in control of that. So if you find that the work you’re doing is generating too much activity, you can scale it back. And even the opposite to that, if you’re doing too little activity and you need to ramp it up, you’re in complete control of that as well. So you’re not relying on outsourcing some sort of marketing where you’re completely dependant upon them. The tools we’re giving you right now, you’re in complete control of that.

So, let’s move on to value. Pre-meeting, what value do the viewers give to their clients before a meeting? Do they bombard them with information, with content, with value, questionnaires, scorecards, what do they do? Or do they back off and wait for the meeting? (6:17)

 

RUPERT:

As much as possible you need to do some further pre-qualification prior to the meeting, so the scorecard is actually a very good way of doing that, so you could ask someone to complete, say, a business scorecard of some kind, in which case you ask certain key questions which help the prospect to understand further what they need and what they want out of it. But also as part of the phone conversation, initial phone conversation, you’re able to really drill down into much more detail.

Also, if you’ve got collateral, some video or content that you feel you want to share, that’s a good thing to do, especially if you start to share a massive amount of value up front, that’s a good thing to do. And when you send out – this sounds very basic – but when the call is booked in, send out a meeting invite like you normally would but also send out a short email as well with that, with potentially some attachments. The reason being is, not all calendar invites work with all recipients’ calendars as well, so you can’t be 100% sure because you’ve sent that meeting invite out that their system has actually engaged with it.

 

ALEX:

I’ve actually had some experiences recently where I’ve sent the calendar invitation and they haven’t shown, they said, Alex, I thought I was going but I had no calendar invitation come through. So that’s a really good point, is to actually follow it up with an email. And even more important than that, is actually a text. In this day and age it’s a lot more acceptable to receive a text through saying, we’ve got a meeting, we’ve got a phone call booked in an hour’s time, are you still able to attend. Or even the day before. I know I quite like it, it’s a very personal touch and it just means that they’re thinking about that pre-meeting.

I suppose the top tip to take away from what we’ve just said there would be the importance of a calendar invitation that goes out straight after, a follow-up with an email, and consider things like SMS texting just before the meeting. A thank you, looking forward to meeting you, that could go a long way.

During the meeting, Rupert, what does that look like? What kind of information are we sharing during that? (8:17)

 

RUPERT:

Are we talking about the phone call or the meeting here?

 

ALEX:

We’re moving into the meeting. So, just to cap off pre-meeting, really important to be jumping on the phone straight away, so as soon as they’ve put their hand up, getting on the phone or a Zoom call to them, to further qualify and to make sure there’s a mutual fit both ways. And then there’s those tips that we gave.

Now we’re moving into the meetings, so once we’re in a meeting with someone, either virtually or face to face, what does that look like? (8:50)

   

RUPERT:

The meeting itself, again it’s always good to go in with a short agenda if you can. We’d normally recommend an ideal time for a meeting about 90 minutes, but it really does depend what type of product or service you’ve got to sell. The reason we say about 90 minutes is that you need to probably spend at least 25, 30 minutes just asking questions of that potential client and listening, because if you actually really do that, first of all you’re demonstrating that you really care about that person, what their needs are, but also it helps you to further drill down and personalise the way you then interact with that person from that point onwards.

It’s also a good idea to have a short presentation. It doesn’t need to be anything detailed. In our particular case we’ve got something a bit more detailed but equally we’ll cut out a lot of the content if we feel it’s not relevant when presenting. In other cases we’ve been in very well run meetings where we’ve either been recipients or it’s been the other way round and it may be as simple as one or two pages from a slide deck.

 

ALEX:

It would be a good time to mention that when we talk about asking questions, that’s not as if you’re reading from a script. That’s not as if you’re just following a 21-question format. It’s more of a conversation style, going back to what we said in a previous series about the prospect nurturing side of it. It’s about building the relationship of trust, it’s about providing a solution to your clients that you can actually provide, in terms of your solution actually being what they actually need. So asking questions in such a way that you understand what the problem is that needs solving.

I know we do this at the moment, but do you believe that giving away collateral for people to take away is really important? Things like books, content, presentations, is it good for a meeting? (10:33)

   

RUPERT:

Yes, it is, but obviously you’ve always got to go into the meeting with the end in mind. If it’s right for you as a business, and it’s right for the client, don’t be frightened of asking for the sale. The number of times I’ve been in meetings where someone’s tried to sell to me and they’ve got to the point where I was about to perhaps place an order and they then start talking about something completely different or they go off at a tangent, and they’ve almost lost the moment. You can talk yourself out of a deal.

 

ALEX:

Another thing to talk about is, we have a free webinar. I’ve mentioned this in previous videos. We have a free webinar where we talk about the consultative sales approach, and the importance of that is really to talk about the amount of time you need, the meet and the greet and the qualification side of it, and demonstrating the products and benefits only relevant to your client, not feature dumping, not just telling them about everything, when they may only need to know one or two bits about your product or solution. Just telling them about the bits they want to hear about.

A lot of people fall into this kind of loop of, I need to share as much value, as much information, I just give, give, give. But if it’s not relevant, it people don’t actually need to hear about that, it’s a waste of time and you could be burning a lot of sales simply because of the fact that you’re not giving the information that people want to see or you’re trying to oversell the solution. (11:52)

 

RUPERT:

Yes, and that’s a really good point. What’s very interesting is, everyone’s communication styles are different, some are more visual, others are more auditory, and so on. Equally, some of us have to have lots of detail, others are very ‘big picture’. So it’s about as much as possible trying to mirror.

 

ALEX:

And if you get that pre-qualification either on the phone or on Zoom or whatever your platforms are right, and you get the initial bit of the meeting the conversation right, you’ll understand and quickly learn if someone’s very detailed or if they’re not. (12:23)

 

RUPERT:

And someone very detailed would expect probably to see the full PowerPoint presentation and may expect a lot of supporting documentation and a lot of detail about the numbers, where if someone is big picture, of course it would be very visual, they may be happy with seeing one or two slides and they may make a much quicker decision.

 

ALEX:

And is a PowerPoint enough? If I’m a detailed individual, if you’re dealing with very detailed individuals, is a PowerPoint enough? What other collateral could you give to someone to help support that? (12:49)

  

RUPERT:

You may have some crib sheets with testimonials of different types, that could be really good. You need to pre-share some of this video content beforehand in the way of testimonials. People want the reassurance of knowing they’re going to be spending their money wisely.

  ALEX:

Referrals work very well as well, not being scared to give our referrals but also for clients you’ve got on board already, of actually asking them if they’d be willing to share, either organically where they tell people about your products or service but also getting to the point where you actually talk about referrals in terms of people recommending you in. That’s also more of the lead generation side but it’s also quite crucial for during a meeting as well, isn’t it? (13:31)

 

RUPERT:

Yes, if it’s someone that’s been given to you as a referral by definition it should be much easier to close that deal, simply because you’re already at a point of accelerated relations with trust, which makes the whole thing much easier.

 

ALEX:

And is that enough during the meeting, can we move on to post-meeting now? (13:50)

 

RUPERT:

I suppose the outcome for this meeting really depends what happens, so if things go to plan or go well you may well end up being able to get an order on the spot, and obviously it’s a case of making sure if you can you’ve got the paperwork all ready to go, so you just get the person to sign on the dotted line and away you go. But obviously it’s then very important about the delivery afterwards and making sure you exceed that person’s expectations. Sometimes you’ll find equally a lot of people need a bit of extra time to think about it, or they may need you to share a bit more in terms of the way of testimonials, recommendations, or whatever it would be, so they can validate what you’re saying.

 

ALEX:

And also it depends on what you’re providing as a product or service, but let’s just say you’ve released an app, for example, or some sort of system, it would be good to consider if you’ve got a much more reduced service but also a free trial period, 14 days, 21 days, whatever your time period is, to hook people in and to give them a chance to try the product before they buy it. I know that works very well with ours in terms of giving away content like this and giving away value, people get to use our products or services before and this is one of the reasons why we do it and why we recommend it, is give people the opportunity to actually use your products or service if you can.

Another way could be things like scorecards, giving away scorecards, getting people to actually fill in information asking key questions about their business or service, about their products or service, before they actually buy it or use it. (15:17)

 

RUPERT:

I think that’s really good. I mean, what you’ve got to be careful of though when offering something for free is, you could end up talking yourself out of a sale. Where it works particularly well is if for various reasons you feel that client needs more reassurance, then offering that free hook in some shape or form would be a really good thing to do.

The other way of course is to try and de-risk the whole deal as much as possible. So for example, in our particular case, we offer our clients a 5KPI guarantee.

 

ALEX:

Also, it might be worth for you as an individual… The reason that might work well is if you’re so confident in your product or service is to put things like money back guarantees, 5KPIs, free upgrades, stuff like that. If for any reason someone isn’t completely satisfied. (16:07)

  

RUPERT:

Yes, you want to de-risk it as much as possible, so in our case because we are totally reliant on our clients being able to close those pieces of business, we can pass over the best leads possible, but if people don’t follow those through that’s a wasted opportunity.

 

ALEX:

Thinking about this from a client’s point of view, I want people to be going away with our service and our client services 100% satisfied with the product or service for two reasons. Firstly, they’re going to recommend us. But more importantly, they’re much more likely to come back in the future and either reuse the service again or buy the product again. Bearing in mind something that a lot of people forget, people that have already bought from you are really good people to either resell to, because they’ve already bought the product, or to go back to in the future because they’ve already bought the product or service. These are already hot, hot clients, why waste them? Why not go back through your old diary and see who’s already bought from you and see how they could buy again. (17:05)

 

RUPERT:

People very often will want to go on to the next shiny thing when actually some of your best future customers are the ones you’ve served in the past.

 

ALEX:

I suppose a way of making this quite relevant, whether you’re an Apple user or not, is Apple products. Every September on the nose you can guarantee they’ll be bringing out a new phone and a new iMac. You’ll always have the same people going back to buy that product again, because they love it. I know you’re a gadget freak and I know I’m getting into that as well, but if you think about it, when a new iPhone is released, a new Samsung phone is released or a new Mac or laptop, you’re the first to go and buy it, and this is the thing that they do so well.

Think about this, how you can do this in your own business, whether you sell £10,000 products or whether it’s £100 products – how can I resell those products, or different products, to the same people? Because they’ve already bought into the brand. (17:51) 

 

RUPERT:

Quite. And actually, another thing as well that’s worth thinking very hard about, and this also has a big impact on the whole sales optimisation process, is think about your product suite. So for example, if your product proposition is of quite high value, let’s say your more of a consultant who works more project based, you may have a proposition which starts at £500, £1,000, £3,000, £5,000. The next level up might be a £10,000, £20,000 sum, the next level up might be over £100,000.

 

ALEX:

You’re talking about the concept which we should actually maybe even devote an entire series to, you’re talking about a similar method, excuse the terminology, but bronze, silver, gold package. (18:30)

 

RUPERT:

Yes, so it could be, although in what we’re talking about here, it’s something that’s potentially a lot more bespoke. For example, some people, if they’re very high-end consultants, they’ll make the mistake of trying to go in with a £100,000 sale off the bat, when actually typically even if you’re trying to get a piece of business from a corporate, they need to de-risk it as much as possible as well. They just want to be reassured. So they’re happy to initially invest £5,000, £10,000, £15,000 if it’s a corporate. If it’s a micro business, they might spend £1,000 or whatever it might be.  So, just think hard about that because that can make a massive difference.

 

ALEX:

That ties in with what we were talking about in terms of going back to your previous clients. However, your method of getting, say, £1,000, whether it’s for a webinar, for a seminar, for a face to face, you get someone on £1,000 and you over exceed their expectations, how much more likely are they going to be to upsell, and to recommend? When you go back to them, they’re much more likely to either buy again, because the product or service is so good. So that could be a good way. Although you might not get the initial money you want up front straight away, they’re going to be a much better client along the way. One tip that’s really good to take away from that is, say you’ve got a kind of three price-point kind of package where it’s £1,000, £3,000 and £10,000, if someone buys the £1,000 thing, if they upgrade to the higher one, give them money off because they’re already outstanding clients. They upgrade to the £10,000 one, you give them their initial investment back. What a great incentive to upgrade. Would you say that’s a great way to wrap this one up? (20:10)

  

RUPERT:

I think we’ve covered a lot with this and we’ve got some exciting new things coming along in the next episodes.

 

ALEX:                   

We certainly do. So obviously everybody watching, thank you so much for talking the time, if you’re listening to us on podcast once again thank you so much. Like I always say, your feedback is our oxygen, thank you so much for joining today, if you liked what you’ve seen or you didn’t, drop a comment in the available boxes below or just give us a bit of feedback, we’d love it. I’m Alex Smith, Rupert Honywood, from Business Growth Bureau. See you on the next episode, thank you so much. (20:39)

  

RUPERT:

Cheers, thank you.