Making Your Prospects Comfortable Enough to Buy
Learn how you know your prospect isn’t comfortable—and how to change that so they move through your pipeline.
December 14, 2016
Long before you even get to selling your product or service, you should be spending time with prospective clients – both online, on the phone, and even in person – to get them comfortable. If they don’t feel completely comfortable – and confident that you’re on their side – that sale will not be coming.
The last thing you want to do is make the prospect feel like you’re convincing, cajoling, pressuring, or tricking them into a sale. If they catch a whiff of that sense, they’ll turn tail and run. Instead, you want to form a real connection and foster a sense of warmth, trust, and safety.
For a long time, salespeople who can make new buyers comfortable have been outperforming their peers, often by using traditional sales techniques like cold calling. Now that social selling practices have arrived and are being widely adopted, they’re essential to establishing that comfort (often in concert with making phone calls).
Sensing When Your Prospect Isn’t Secure
Here’s how you know your prospect isn’t comfortable: you find yourself feeling awkward about asking whether he or she is ready to make purchase.
If you’ve done a good job of being a warm, thoughtful salesperson moving your prospect through the pipeline, you shouldn’t feel any awkwardness – the only request you’ll be making is for a signature on some final paperwork.
Establishing a high-level rapport to make a prospect feel secure enough to buy takes a step-by-step approach – starting with some scouting before the initial contact until the client signs the deal.
Building Trust Through Social Selling
Here are just a few ways to employ social selling tactics to create trust: research the contact and company on LinkedIn and other social networks to gather key insights on their role, expertise, and pain points; set up meetings to listen to their needs; brainstorm solutions collaboratively; and send useful materials like case studies and presentations that directly address their pain points along the way.
But here’s the crucial point: all of those activities should be done without mentioning the word “sale” or even trying to sell your recommendations. That’s what comes last. First, you’ll be establishing trust and getting that person or team comfortable with your approach to problems, your company’s vision, and with the education process you’ve established for them.
Being a Trusted Advisor
A cynic might say that this educational process feels like you are tricking the prospect into buying. To the contrary, prospects, especially these days, expect salespeople to be trusted advisors. That is the new role of a sales rep, and adding value for the client is how you’ll have success. If you’re a good listener who acts collaboratively, thoughtfully and with warmth, you’ll build that essential trust.
You may have noticed that this process of moving a prospect to a comfortable, buy-ready state involves a certain harmony between traditional sales techniques like cold calling with modern social selling tactics. Both sides of selling are still important, and most deals will still require some significant form of traditional sales practices.
That combination of old and new tools is a great way to establish a connection with a prospect and make them comfortable before buying. But whatever exact process you choose to advance buyers through the pipeline, know that the final step – a signature – simply won’t happen unless that person feels comfortable.
To learn about how to integrating traditional sales methods with social selling, download our free eBook: The Post Era of the Cold Call: Combining Inside Sales Tools with Social Selling.