The perfect rulebook for improving communication with a prospect does not exist. Remember the number of times you have walked off a store or dropped the idea of buying an article from someone who didn’t care about how they spoke to you. I am sure you would’ve made up your mind never to visit that place again in your lifetime. More than being just another business activity, sales is an art.
Most business people are confident about the quality of their products or services offered in the market but lack the same conviction regarding their customer base. The reasons for this can be numerous, with not knowing how to deal with clients effectively being the main one. Only 13% of customers think a salesperson can recognize their needs, but this can be changed with good communication.
A business can boost its revenue and profitability by executing a robust sales management strategy. Sellers must exercise best practices for improving communication with prospective customers or clients to expand their market share.
Today’s market is highly competitive. The existence of highly customer-centric products in the market has given the liberty of choice to consumers. If you are a market participant (seller), the way you interact with customers sets you apart from your competitors. A customer or client scrutinizes every seller and chooses the one who minimizes their expense.
Interactive communication is the backbone of an ideal customer–seller relationship. Studies about marketing highlight the art of negotiations as the primary factor leading to a profitable business. However, discounts, cashback schemes, or other offers are short-term courses of action to attract customers. How you interact with customers determines the level of trust a customer would put in you. This would foster strong and long-lasting relationships.
An effective method of communication reduces the chances of misinterpretations. In case of a conflict of interest, mere productive and effective communication can resolve disputes.
Let’s go through some of the most effective ways to improve communication with a prospect:
It is important not to confuse this with a Lead. A lead may not be a prospect today or in the future. A lot of efforts by a seller of goods or provider of services may turn a lead into a prospect. A prospect is just one step away from being your client or customer. It is important to identify prospects and understand how to interact with them effectively.
Step 1: Sort out your target audience
Combing through the entire crowd to segregate the customer base that a seller wishes to target is the first step to determining a prospective customer/client.
Step 2: Ascertain the scale of your organization
Your plan of action would depend upon your scale of operation and the size of your organization.
Step 3: Identify the time spent over each prospect
Analyze the amount of time spent over a prospect and compare it with the expected
revenue the business expects to generate from such a prospect.
Step 4: Using Step 3, set pre-qualifiers for prospects
Imagine you are at an interview. The interviewers have already segregated a list of red and green flags to base their selection. In the same way, a seller should set pre-qualifiers to allocate his time and efforts to a worthy prospect effectively.
Step 5: Develop a customer model
This would help in quantifying and analyzing attributes of a customer’s reactions to the products or services. It also enables the effective allocation of capital and human resources.
Step 6: Set up Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM provides a basis for constructive dialogue between the prospect and the seller. It helps to minimize the risk of a customer eroding the profitability of the business.
One may wonder, “Why are there rules about how to communicate with prospects?”
A prospect can make or break your business. If their experience is positive, they will recommend your services to others without you paying a penny via “word of mouth” advertising. But if negative, a single bad impression can disrepute the entire business operation: an emerging or a well-established business. Managers need to sharpen their interpersonal skills in order to efficiently communicate with customers.
The words used should be clear and easy to comprehend in their literal sense. The use of complex jargon should be avoided.
To build trust, the information conveyed needs to be true. Data should not be falsified just to grab the customer’s attention. Only convey the correct information to your customer, even if they may seem uninterested in your offering.
Customers must be given the full information to help them conclude about the product or services offered. Make sure to hide any product specifications intentionally, and talk about all the minor and major details.
A strong demeanor coupled with strong facts and belief system forces a customer to see beyond his insecurities. Be a positive and confident character infront of your customer.
Use concise information to attract and persuade a customer to indulge in your product. Only use information that directly addresses what you are offering, with no diversions.
Showing empathy toward customers would help you correlate with their concerns and foster future communications with the prospects. The key is to genuinely empathetic towards you customers and not fake it.
Customer would always want to see their opinion valued, making them feel that their expectations and demands are considered by the seller. Yes, you know more about your product, but don’t make a customer’s opinion seem less valued.
The list of methods for improving communication with prospects is neverending. Here are a set of 11 best practices that can be implemented by businesses
A customer conveys his wants and expectations either explicitly or through subtle hints. It is important to pay minute attention and listen to them rather than just hearing and letting it pass.
A sense of trust can be built with a prospect when you make them believe that the product benefits them and causes no harm. At the same time, don’t make them feel they have been sold an item against their wish.
Many prospects would retain information about your business better and longer if they registered your logo, a keyword, a catchy jingle, or an advertisement. Catchy visual aids create imprints in the mind of prospects.
While making a deal, if you are asking the question, “can you afford this” in an effort to uncover the prospect’s budget, then you should think of rephrasing the question to be more smooth, like: “How much have you budgeted for this? Similarly, you must remember that people don’t always know what they want unless you introduce a product to them. So, questioning may prove counter-productive most of the time.
Highlight your story. Use all social media elements to reach out to a larger customer base having no geographical restrictions. You are no longer required to promote your product by knocking on doors. Encourage your buyers to post their product stories on social media and consistently share their stories. Share relatable, current trend-related stories on your social media pages.
Think from a prospect’s perspective. What would you want from a vendor? At what price would you be willing to purchase it, given the market competition? Communication becomes a lot easier when you know what a prospect expects from you.
Showing empathy toward the customer’s situation makes them feel welcome and homely. A key to nurturing strong relationships is personalizing the way you communicate with them: making them feel special.
During face-to-face interactions, your body language should depict your trustworthiness. On the call, a simple smile while communicating is bound to turn around a cold call.
Replace the negative words during communication with a prospect with affirmative words. This creates a psychologically positive impact.
Sending mere e-mails is not enough. A customer or client receives thousands of emails weekly. How do you ensure that your mail gets picked does the trick of getting them engaged?
The best way to make a prospect try out your product would be to send free samples and personalized handwritten notes. They would be inclined to search more about you and become your customer.
It is always better to avoid asking about the sale directly. Rather, you should make it more contextual and not be pushy about the sale. A follow-up should be regular but not annoyingly persistent. Use attractive phrases to grab the user’s attention on every follow-up request you send.
Retaining a high standard of customer service is impossible without effective communication. For long-term sales objectives and profitability, it is important that the customer stays satisfied. This would lead to building trust and customer loyalty for decades to come.
Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric says, “Competitive advantage can also be obtained by the ability to learn more about your customers than your competitors do” and “the ability to transform that knowledge into action faster than your competitors.” The first mover’s advantage is successful only when customer satisfaction is achieved through effective communication with customers. An executive program in Strategic Sales Management by UNext can help you to become a successful sales strategist in the digital world.