Mid-way through a recent call with a prospect, I found myself stumbling. I was unsure of where I needed the call to go next and struggling to find the right words to get the conversation rolling again. There were a couple of reasons behind it, but the main one was that I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was.
Inbound marketing helps…
As I wrote before, inbound is a great marketing technique that takes a lot of the difficulty out of prospecting and allows you to contact warm leads who are familiar with your business. You’ve got a built in conversation starter from the minute you picked up the phone: “I saw you were checking out xyz on our website – I just wanted to see if you found everything you were looking for?”
…but you still need a plan
I had already had a couple of great conversations with this prospect before our most recent call and had established a rapport and gotten them excited about what we can do for their business. But midway through this call, I realized I didn’t have all of the information I needed both from the prospect and more importantly, I was missing pieces at my end. I made a couple of the biggest mistakes a sales rep can make – I wasn’t familiar with my product and I hadn’t listened well enough. Okay, I know what we do – there is no question about that – but I wasn’t sure how we could adapt our services for this prospect. The reason for my uncertainty was because I hadn’t paid attention to some of the details of our previous conversations that indicated what this prospect is looking for. When that clicked in my head I had nowhere to go.
Learning from my mistake
Had I made that connection earlier, I would have had a clearer direction to take the call. Now that I’ve realized it I know what changes are needed in order to not make that mistake again. I’ve revised the outlines I use for my call in order to make sure I’m asking all of the right open-ended questions at the right stage in the conversation and started reviewing some blogs to help me solve the problem of being tongue tied when I get stuck. Soon, I’ll be able to go back to this prospect with a solution that fits their business
Ready for the next prospect
Inbound campaigns will help you target your ideal customer or client but occasionally a great prospect that fits some but not all of your criteria will show up. They might exhibit some huge interest in doing business with you, but you’ll have to remember that inbound is an ongoing process. Nurturing leads and following up with them is often going to be different from one lead to the next so you’ll have to make sure you’re getting the relevant information you need. I might have been able to avoid stumbling had I asked better or different questions earlier in the process. Fortunately, there are great resources available (via Hubspot) that can help me – and you – adapt and refine the sales process and be ready for the next prospect.