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1 – No product demos on the first call
What the prospect is thinking: “Once I see the product, then I’ll know if it’s something I want to buy.”
You and I both know that’s not true. The sale is NEVER about the product. It’s about the problem it solves.
It also means:
- You’re using the product as a crutch, thinking that the product will do the selling for you.
- You’re ceding control of the sale to the prospect.
- You lose the opportunity to learn about the person’s actual needs.
Yes, of course they WANT to see the demo. They might even press you on it – “Can’t just I see a demo?” YOUR job is to change that thinking.
Yes, you should show the product. Eventually. Like in the second call.
Which leads me to #2…
2 – Focus on the NEED part of BANT first, before anything else.
Thinking of “lead qualification” from the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need & Timing) framework, the “need” part gets buried, and it’s the first and most important part of the qualification process.
What good is someone with B-A-T that doesn’t have a need we can fill?
For the next inbound lead or introduction or referral that “would love to see a demo,” tell them: “Awesome. Can’t wait to show it to you. Let’s have a quick chat (15 mins) so I can learn more and then tailor the demo specifically to your situation. Sound good?”
Trust me, they’ll agree with you.
Once you’ve established NEED more than anything, then set up a SECOND call for 3-5 days later, and ask them who else on their side they might want to have join the call – people on their team who’s perspectives they value, possible users, or teammates they use as consultants around products like this.
Not only do you give yourself a chance to do more research about the company and tailor the demo, you’re giving yourself access to more people at the prospect’s company to whom you can sell. Plus, it’s likely that this first conversation will avail you the opportunity to prod about B-A-T.
If they push back on your request for a short chat, i.e. “No, I just want to see the demo.” Then say – “Of course. I want to be respectful of your time, so before we spend a bunch of time going through the product, it’s important to make sure it’s a good fit. Would that be okay?”
If they’re still persisting and you feel compelled, then set up a 30-minute “demo” and spend the first 20 minutes doing your needs analysis, and the last ten minutes doing an abbreviated demo. Just don’t make the demo the main focus of your first call.
Oh, and know that the person that keeps pushing for demo before a conversation isn’t a buyer.
[Like this stuff? Check out my podcast – Startup Selling: Talking Sales with Scott Sambucci. New episodes weekly. Really smart guests and tons of tactical sales ideas you can put to work right away.]
3 – Run a webinar
You’ve spent time over the past months (or years) accumulating two critical assets: 1) contacts and 2) expertise. Use them.
Four months ago, they never got back to you after the first couple of calls. It doesn’t mean that their problem doesn’t still exist.
Your product has probably changed a lot since then, so you owe it to yourself and to those contacts to wake them up and see who might be interested now.
Remember the BANT thing? Maybe four months ago they didn’t have budget or authority or need or timing. But maybe now they do, and a webinar is a way for you to quickly shake those prospects loose that are ready to take action without calling down your list for A to Z to find them. Let them self-select by opting to watch your content and learn from you.
Even better, they’ll be learning from your expertise, and you’re positioning yourself with a stronger voice for that next conversation.
Webinars are easy to run, and there’s no reason to be nervous or shy. And if you are that nervous or shy, then just record a webinar with no one there live, then send out the recording to your list.
Use a webinar platform or even Google Hangouts to record it, post it to YouTube, and then post the YouTube link behind a landing page to send out to your contacts. Tell your contacts that it’s recorded, then monitor who clicks on the link from the email you sent out. Now you have your call list for the next few days.
4 – Send news articles to your prospects
Set up a once-a-day Google News alert for 3-4 key industry topics. Each morning, spend 30 minutes (time yourself) scanning the articles and think about how the latest articles you’ve found relate to the prospects you’ve talked with in the past 2-3 weeks.
As soon as a prospect comes to mind, email a link to the article to that prospect with short note. Something like:
Subject: found this and thought of our conversation…
Hi Jill – I just came across this article and it reminded me of our conversation last week, especially the part about ___________.
That’s it. No selling. No pitches. No “Hope you’re day is going well!” No “Can we hop on a call?” None of that. Just add value and let them reply (or not).
Plenty of times, prospects have replied back with “Thanks! I know I’ve owed you a call. How’s next week?” Sometimes they just reply back with “Thanks.” Sometimes they don’t reply back at all.
For recent prospects that you sense are going dead, this is a way to add value and show that you don’t just email when you want a conversation or when you are “following up.”
When you get really good, you can start sending to prospects that went dark months ago. You know – the ones that told you in November that told you to ping them after the new year, and you have, four times, and they still haven’t replied to your “follow up.”
Pro Tip: Don’t send articles from USA Today or Yahoo! News. Send articles from somewhat esoteric publications. Maybe even mentions of the topic in academic circles or conferences. Dig around.