If you're a business owner, you've heard this from a B2B salesperson:
"How much are you spending? What?! No, no, no, it's ludicrous to pay that much. I can get you a better deal."
And you were immediately turned off.
The sales pitch was in your face; it had no warmth, no element of relationship . . . and no way of winning you over.
Yet, if your own business has a hard time converting prospects into customers, it may be because your strategy isn't far off from the one above. That is, your salespeople talk more about your business than the prospect's problems.
Business owners don't want to be pummeled with jargon: they want you to solve their problems. (Click to tweet)
We learned a ton about B2B sales when we recently interviewed Matt Remuzzi, founder of the bookkeeping service CapForge. Matt's had exceptional success closing deals with B2B prospects over the phone, and we wanted to hear how he does it.
We came away with four things your salespeople can do to turn prospects into customers.
1) Ask About Their Business First
Business owners have a certain nervousness when they inquire about using a new service. They're torn between the need for the service and the desire not to be duped.
In other words, sales representatives do not begin calls with the benefit of the doubt.
The challenge for the representative, then, is to ease that doubt. How do they do this?
By giving the prospect the exact opposite of what he or she expects.
Instead of throwing out numbers right out of the gate, teach your salespeople to ask about the prospect's business. Business owners don't get to talk about their babies all that often, so they love the opportunity when it comes along.
2) Bring it Back to Your Business . . . Sort Of
Once the conversation addresses the prospect's business, the sales rep can safely bring it back around to your business. ("Now, I know you called us because you need help with [bookkeeping, cloud software, etc.]...")
However, the conversation still needs to be about the prospect.
The sales rep should ask about the prospect's current experience. They might be calling because they lost a great employee, or because their technology is lagging, or because that whole side of their business has been a nightmare. Sympathy goes a long way here.
Salespeople should respond to the problem directly instead of offering an unsolicited solution. For the most part, business owners don't want to hear your industry terminology. They just want someone to fix their problem.
3) Provide a Clear Next Step
Rapport alone won't be enough to make someone buy from you--they need something to act on. (Click to tweet)
Matt and the folks at CapForge are great at this part of the process.
Every person Matt works with gets a custom quote that tells the person exactly how much they'll be paying and what they'll be getting. All the prospect has to do is send over his or her Quickbooks information for a risk-free quote.
Your salespeople should also have a clear call-to-action ready at hand, whether it's a free quote or trial or some other action (there are all kinds of effective guarantees you can make to prospects.)
When you make the next step easy, and your service comes back great, they won't split hairs if your service costs $4 more than the next person: they're going to pull the trigger.
4) Get the Entire Sales Team on Board
Matt does the majority of CapForge's sales calls, but he's working to train his staff and scale his own success. There's nothing magic about what he does: others in the office can get the same results.
If you have one sales manager or representative who is exceptional at making prospects feel welcome and warm, systemize their success and teach the entire sales team how to achieve that same success.
For example, you could create an FAQ list for your sales team (or anyone answering a phone). That way, they'll know if someone asks what your hourly rates are, they won't just give the answer. They'll say, "Let's step back for a second: what kind of services do you need?"
Everybody should be ready to address those questions.
If you come at people directly with numbers and technical jargon, they're going to avoid that conversation like the plague.
On the other hand, if a prospect's first impression of your company is a sales rep who takes the time to listen, you're going to win.
This post is based on an interview with Matt Remuzzi from CapForge. You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to the B2B Growth Show on iTunes.