Why Sales Seldom Happen The First Time Round (and What You Can Do About It )

It can be so frustrating when you’ve had a successful meeting with a prospective new client you’re certain will result in a sale, and then you hear nothing from them ever again.

I think most of us have had that experience more than once and we’re often left questioning what we did wrong, what did we say to put them off, and what can we change for the next time? I’d suggest that’s the wrong way to be going about things.

Rather than fixating on getting sales out of your meetings, you should be focusing on three things:

  • highlighting the problem they need help with
  • building up trust and a good rapport
  • following up

Making sales is less about pushing your products and services to a potential target and more about building relationships. So, let’s look at how you can improve the success of your sales meetings.

Understand that you’ll seldom make a sale from the very first meeting

If your LinkedIn inbox is anything like mine, you’ll often find it crammed full of pushy cold messages trying to sell you something that you really don’t need and have no interest in, but manage to make you feel terrible for saying no.

I’d love to know the conversion rates from this sales strategy, but I can predict it’ll be low.

The first contact with a prospective client is about establishing what their problem is, and how you can help them. Often, the actual problem is hidden and not what the customer thinks it is. For example, not generating leads from their website. They’ll often go to a new web designer because they think the website itself is to blame, when actually the problem lies in how they’re driving traffic to their website, or that the copy on the website isn’t clear about what’s on offer, making it more of an SEO and marketing problem.

Instead of going into a meeting or discovery call with the expectation of a new customer at the end of it, aim for building a new relationship instead. You probably won’t make a sale from this meeting, according to research into sales, only 50% of your prospects are a good fit for what you sell. What you might find though is that the lead will send referrals your way because they’re clear on what you do and how you can help people, even if you’re not the right fit for them.

To generate sales, you need to build trust and demonstrate your reputation

Communicating with your leads through follow ups is crucial for generating sales as this business owner takes pen to paper for the personal touchThanks to the internet and being able to find what we need with just a few taps of the keyboard, there’s more competition than ever before. When there are hundreds of businesses doing exactly what you do, you need to find a way to convince your prospect that you are the one for them.

On average, it takes 8 contact points to convert a lead into a paying customer – that’s 8 times they need to engage with you and your business, and it basically boils down to trust.

Your lead needs to:

  • trust in you as a person to deliver what you say you will
  • that they’ll be in good hands working with you,
  • and that what they’ll receive is of the highest quality.

This takes time to achieve and you’re unlikely to generate that level of trust in the first meeting.

Taking the time to understand your prospective customer, the actual problem they need help with and establishing the best way you can help them is what you should focus on in meetings until you’re both ready to take the leap into a working relationship.

Never underestimate the importance of following up with your leads

It might be tempting to follow up your meeting with a proposal and invoice to get started, and if that’s what you both agreed would happen, fantastic!

But rather than focusing on getting a sale, think of following up as a way to enhance your reputation and build on the trust between you, this is an important part of building the relationship that’ll turn your lead into a paying customer. Look for opportunities to help them, which might be sending them information or articles that are of interest, referring them to your contacts, or even lending them a book that’s helped you in the past.

There are different ways to follow up and keep in contact with your lead so don’t feel you have to spend hours creating the perfect email. Simply liking and sharing their social media can sometimes be enough.

Follow-ups are only a small part of the sales and marketing process but are crucial in establishing a good rapport and future working relationship. To discover the extra steps you need to take to increase your income in 2019 and create a strategy that works for you and your business, get in touch with me today.