I’ve studied or read about a lot of sales training: Sandler Sales, Tom Hopkins, Language of Selling, Spin Selling, High Probability Selling, Mahan Khalsa, Griffin Hill, Solution Selling, The Ultimate Sales Machine, Sales on the Line, Value-Added Selling, Collaborative Selling, Snap Selling, and most recently a great two-day class called Strategic Selling by Miller Heiman.
Most of them teach you to aggressively disqualify leads that can’t or won’t buy from you. They say a “no” is almost as good as a “yes.” I understand why they do it. They don’t want you to waste time on a prospective buyer who isn’t ready to buy right now. Somebody who is only “interested” will waste more time than anybody else if they don’t have need.
Interest is the counterfeit of need.
But what if everybody really needs what you have to sell they just don’t know it?
The way to turn interest into need is with education. Education is the job of marketing. Sales would much rather work with those who are already educated and aware of their need.
If you get people to say “no” then they exit the sales funnel because they think they don’t need you. It is always better to change “no’s” to “maybe’s”. If somebody says “no” then respond with, “I understand the timing might not be good now, but can I keep in touch on an ongoing basis and keep you aware of further developments?”
They always say “sure.” That gets you off the phone, right?
Now you have permission to send them something roughly every month and begin the education process. I like to send them one additional “chunk” of information a month, and with an automated lead nurturing or drip marketing program it doesn’t take any time from your sales people at all.
My sales reps get people every week that have been in a nurturing program for months or years and finally call back and say, “thanks so much for keeping in touch with me, we are ready to move forward.”
Little did they know that all our reps did was to change their “no” back to a “maybe” and turn on the lead nurturing.
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