Jeremy Hong | March 19, 2019

Inbound marketing strategies became a necessity as the power of the internet was harnessed and made convenient for consumers around the world. Putting relevant and valuable content in front of your target audiences when, where, and with the answers to why they're looking for it is a central practice of inbound marketing, where content attracts (and broadly qualifies) leads for sales to further qualify and eventually close. It’s your job as a salesperson to walk the line between helping and selling.

Helping

As your sales team begins to reach out to inbound leads, many will make the mistake of immediately trying to sell your products and services. Don't be that company.

At some point, salespeople seem to have forgotten that brand relationships need to be fostered and nurtured – that people don't like to be seen as a dollar sign and that people want the brands they identify with to embody a positive experience or feeling, a value, or a culture.

Build Rapport

Initial sales outreach should focus on helping your prospect identify, research, or solve the problem they're facing, rather than abruptly telling them why they should buy your product. Content helps the person identify key issues, evaluate solutions, and ultimately decide which option provides the most value.

Remember, every successful contact with a prospect is a win. Make use of successful outreach by planting the seed for an ongoing relationship. Ask questions, give insight, and show the recipient that you truly care about their overall well being and sincerely want to help them find a solution to their problem.

Selling

The art of selling has changed drastically over the past couple decades. However, the best salespeople know from experience that there is no formula for calculating the precise moment to move in for a sale. It's each salesperson's job to walk that ever changing line between helping a prospect and closing one. If you're like me and "sales experience" never got ticked off the list of to-do's before getting hired (don't tell my boss), you'll probably appreciate a few tips that'll help you hit the ground running during your cold outreach attempts.

Provide sales content that isn't so focused on the sale itself. Let your content add context to the person's current situation – bring color into their world by addressing the specific problem, giving a name to it, providing solutions to it, and offering honest pros and cons to each available option.

Nurturing a lead is as critical a stage of a lead's lifecycle as converting one. By building rapport and establishing a relationship, the lead is more likely to trust you, which gives your (eventual) pitch a higher chance of being heard without bias.

Know how to identify, interpret, and appropriately engage a lead based on sales cues.

Sales Cues

As a lead gets warmer, a salesperson can look for sales cues to determine where the person is in his buyer’s journey. When translated correctly, these cues can help a salesperson decide whether to switch from helping to selling.

Sales cues can be verbal (words) or non-verbal (body language, vocal tone and inflection). Seeing as how communication is 7% what you say, 38% how you say it (tone and inflection), and 55% body language, non-verbal cues can provide salespeople with valuable insight on whether a lead is ready to hear a pitch.

Sales cues are relatively simple to point out. Here are a few cues for you to be aware of while you speak with your next lead:

  • Asking questions about your product/service
  • Being open about their problems and issues
  • Asking questions about your other clients
  • Expressing curiosity
  • Chin stroking, slow nod in agreement
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Loose posture, relaxed face; generally open body language

As you identify and mentally translate sales cues, it’s important to continue actively listening to your leads. When you put it all together, you should be able to determine which of the sales cues you observed might just be a part of the person’s natural demeanor, and which ones might actually be useful to you.

Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you’ll know, “it’s time.” The most common indicator? A long pause. It means they’ve said all they can or want to about the issue, and are probably ready to hear what you have to say.

Now, it’s your turn. Once a shift has occurred and the buyer is ready to hear you out, you’ll want to show empathy and relate to what your lead was telling you to let them know you were actively listening. Empathize by offering your insight on the problem and your experience dealing with it. Ask them if they’ve tried solving the problem in the past, and how and why that didn’t work out. Segway to the sale by talking about competitor brands and your own. Sell them on why your brand is better than the other ones out there.

Once a lead becomes a customer, your service team needs to provide outstanding customer support, post-sale content (and promos), and ongoing support in order to strengthen brand loyalty and increase referrals, which bring the entire cycle full circle.

#TobeTip: Show that you’re genuine and get creative using video in your outreach. Whether you’re making personalized, custom videos from your laptop or contracting an agency to produce short informational videos and micro-demos, you can say (and convey) a lot more with video. As an added bonus, using video calls rather than phone calls allow you to pick up on more sales cues.

Need help generating more leads, increasing conversions, or driving engagement? Want to close more leads faster? Get in touch with Tobe Agency today!

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