While every company is unique, certain best practices in sales processes have been proven effective consistently.
You want to distinguish, enhance, and maintain your process to generate more revenue.
This article will include the following ways to attract and retain customers.
Create desirable content
Build your own network
Increase their interest
Validate your value
Close the deal
Create Desirable Content
Most sales content talks about what matters most to you: why your company was founded, what you have accomplished, your offerings, how wonderful they are, your amazing team, and how others find your products wonderful, too.
Flip the script. Make all your materials focus on your potential customers. Show you understand their needs by articulating their problems and explaining how you will solve them. Describe your value in their terms and incorporate their industry, company, and vision in your messaging.
Once you learn more about their goals, incorporate that learning into your follow-up materials. Consider this model for your major communications:
What we heard
How we provide value in that area
How we will solve the problem specifically to help grow your business
Here’s more information about us
Test different scripts and visuals. After you review the outcomes, double down on the winning methods while continually trying new approaches and content.
Build Your Own Network
Connect with potential buyers where they live. For instance, attend industry conferences for products and services related to your offerings and utilized by many of your customers. If the event has your ideal target customers, then plan a full campaign to engage people (e.g., a customized landing page and collateral specifically for the event).
You may want to sponsor an event. If you’re considering it, then evaluate the return on investment of that sponsorship based on leads, responses, and closed deals. Contact companies that sponsored events in the past to learn about their experience and confirm that prospective attendees fit your ideal customer profile.
If you’re bootstrapping, some ways to join events for free include asking a business partner if they can cover your fees as you cross-promote their company, offering to promote the conference in exchange for entry, or volunteering to access sessions and attendees.
Increase Their Interest
Foster engagement with your growing network of prospects in the following ways:
Timing. Identify the right time based on their business growth, evolving needs, and buying cycle. Some relationships (professional and personal) fail when the timing is wrong.
Helping. Focus on how you can be helpful and give before you ask for anything.1
Differentiating. Be remembered.
“Be memorable, not agreeable.
Being different sounds risky,
but it’s better than being forgettable.”
– Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon
Explaining. Show how you add value to similar companies through stories, testimonials, and case studies. Consider multiple approaches: stories, one-pagers, videos, guest spots on podcasts, case studies, etc.
Pacing. Keep the discussion moving by always having the next step in mind.
As you continue the discussion, it moves from initial interest to real engagement. The prospect is now contemplating working together. Consider these factors:
Understanding. Identify and clarify their needs based on your discussions and research on their business, industry, and competitors.
Educating. Share your knowledge generously and often. Remember that most people are incredibly not self-aware, so it provides value if you can articulate their needs in terms of problems they are facing and how your company helps to solve those problems.
Specifying. Connect their needs with your offering to show exactly how you will solve their problems, help them operate more efficiently, and/or increase their revenues or profits.
Exploring. Discover how you could work together. Recognize the mutual investment as they spend money, time, and energy working to understand and communicate your offering within their company.2
Ending. Issue a “call to action” to clarify how you can keep talking.
Validate Your Value
Before you can close the deal, the buyer needs to feel incredibly comfortable moving forward. They may be risking a lot working with you, including their reputation, so you need to provide assurance.
Confirming. Revisit your understanding of the needs and the proposed solution since something may have changed since your initial conversation.
Describing. Explain (again) how you will work to solve their needs and the expected activities and results.
Showing. Demonstrate that you can provide a clear return on their investment. Help them picture the future state of the company after they work with you.
Reinforcing. Provide social proof, testimonials, and references to help your cause.
Close the Deal
Now you’re close to signing and want to take steps to finish the deal.
Asking. Determine their sentiment and what else it will take to work together (e.g., resources, software, access, etc.).
Setting. Establish clear expectations and deliverables for success. Share a timetable for implementation and results. Later, you’ll revisit these expectations to ensure success.
Giving. Offer more examples of success and reinforce the best ones.
Negotiating. Start from a place of comfortable margins and work to respond to their needs.3
Facing. Address challenges of implementation directly and discuss how they can be handled. You are essentially preparing your advocate on the client’s side when they encounter these questions and doubts.
Moving. Keep a tight timeline. Ask when the deal will be signed or even give a deadline.
Focusing. Direct conversations on the results to be achieved. There may be resistance to signing the deal. Sometimes, people struggle to make decisions. Keeping focused on the desired results can help mitigate that.
Holding. Reach the close. At the same time, resist doing any work until at least a verbal agreement is in place. Sometimes, you can offer to sign a proof-of-concept or a time-limited agreement to start working together without the risk of losing money while keeping the larger deal on track.
For sales, the process may end when the deal is signed, but for the company, you need to consider the entire lifecycle of the relationship.
Once someone has agreed to pay for what you offer, you want to make sure they get started quickly, form a great first impression, can easily discover more ways to utilize your offering, and love your business so much they want to champion your brand.
Key Takeaway: To best attract buyers, generate amazing content and build a network. From there, foster their interest, keep them engaged, and validate your value. Critically, after you close the deal, recognize that the value of a customer relationship is just beginning.
1 See the article Giving before Receiving for more information and specific examples.
2 See the article Passive, Aggressive, or Assertive? for more information.
𝗦𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗲: 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗣𝗲𝗮𝗸 is a book with over 130 independent topics across 500 pages including leadership, growth, sales, marketing, operations, finance, and teams. Each topic takes five minutes to gain invaluable insights, best methods, and practical options.