12 Golden Rules to Effectively Handling Enquiries...
In today's economic climate, every right thinking business is looking to eliminate wastage and to get better marketing and sales results.
An often overlooked, but hugely productive area to put under the microscope is a companies sales process.
In this Results Report, Chris Newton gives 12 Golden Rules on effectively handling enquiries...
Recently I was working with one of my high level clients on developing a sales process and standard operating procedures for his professional services centre. As part of that, I was developing scripts on how they handle enquiries from new prospects over the phone.
The more I thought about the issues, the more I found myself creating a list of a dozen 'sobering' truths ... to help his people understand the mindset of the caller.
I thought I'd share part of the document with you (with his specific details removed), as it has universal application for any business that deals with other human beings! Your situation may or may not be offering high level services to cold enquirers, but I trust you'll agree this has some valuable lessons. This client also uses an Information Pack to educate his prospective customers; but even if you give information verbally, over the telephone or face to face, the principles remain the same.
One more thing before we start.
These truths may at first appear negative. They're not. They are simply a realisation that everybody – including your prospect - sees life through their own 'eyes'. And having an insight into how they 'see' (and feel) can help you to better relate to their needs.
Could you can adopt the following "Golden Rules" for your business?
- Complex Problems - The enquirer, regardless of what they say, isn't just after 'information'. They have a problem or a need. Often a problem/s so complex they don't fully understand it themselves. They crave to have it solved, and they're looking for a solution.
- Calling You is a Big Deal - Just making the phone call can sometimes be a big thing for prospects, because they have their own uncertainties and insecurities to contend with. We need to be empathetic and make the process painless.
- Prospects are Distrusting - They've probably been disappointed by past efforts to find a solution. So expect them to be distrusting until they know we are 'real'.
- They are going to buy - Whether it's from us, or a competitor, whether it's today or in six months' time, they will 'buy' something. Our task is to educate them to why our solution is best for them (that is of course, if our solution is indeed the best one for their particular circumstances. Otherwise, we should guide them ethically to an alternative.)
- Dealing with Price - They will have pre-conceived ideas of what's 'expensive'. But on the other hand, when they find their 'answer', they will pay whatever it takes. So it's our 'duty of care' to ensure we ethically educate them to our solution, and to show that our solution isn't expensive, it is life changing.
- Stand out from the Crowd - They will initially have little or no concept of what our business/practice does, and will tend to pigeonhole us with other firms who appear to deliver what we do.
- Do They Really Get it? - They may nod in agreement at things you say in the initial discussion, but in truth, they'll understand and absorb only a tiny fraction of what you have said. Which means you need to go slowly, never assume. And most importantly, through questions, do a regular 'temperature check' on their understanding. Critically important.
- Position the Value - When it comes to the Information Pack we have to send them, remember they have no basis for appreciating the value, or of the decades of research and development behind this information. So unless positioned correctly, it will simply sit unopened for weeks, until they've lost interest. And when you try to follow up after their interest has waned, you become a 'pushy' salesperson, not a professional with the answers to their perhaps years of frustration. What's the solution? You must position the value of the pack correctly up front. Again, they won't give any priority to the pack unless you position it correctly before you send it.
- Keeping Control - Remember that the person who has the information is in control of the transaction. If you give it (your information pack) over to the prospect prematurely, without first gaining a firm commitment they'll review it, you lose the control.
- Set the Rules - Getting that firm commitment means getting their undertaking that they will go through it in a pre-agreed timeframe, in preparation for a follow up discussion.
- Follow Up - Even after all the above, they'll often say 'yes', but then nothing will happen. In 95% of cases, you will have to follow up. When you follow up, even after all the great positioning, there's a chance they'll say they can't go ahead 'just now', for any number of reasons. Often these reasons are not the real reasons. You need to get as many of these potential issues on the table and out of the way as possible, before you hand over the information.
- Helping People Buy - Remember that none of this is 'manipulative' or unethical. It is simply acknowledging the foibles of human nature, and helping (ethically leading) people to come to an informed outcome.
Could Chris's "Golden Rules" give your business a much needed and immediate boost in conversion rates, help cut wastage and increase your sales revenue?
Your business or practice may not parallel the one Chris created these 'golden rules' for. But I'd be very surprised if you didn't get some real distinctions out of these 12 points for your own frontline people.
Let me know your thoughts.
For more articles on Coverting Prospects have a look in our academy...