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In modern-day communications, web conferencing meetings are essential to profile a customer, gather information and manage sales efficiently. Of course, everybody has their style, and that’s something to be leveraged. However, during my career as Imagicle Account and Sales Manager, I’ve had the chance to identify some best practices that helped me make the most of this ever-changing job.
What we talk about when we talk about sales.
Let’s get straight to the point. Our job is finding a way to make the life of our partners and customers as simple as possible.
Now, the compass that leads us towards this goal is a daily, simple question: what is the most effective way to do it?
Remember that, as a salesman, you don’t have to sell stuff. What you need to do is putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and thinking about the best solution to help him win his challenges and be successful.
See, you’re not selling; you are helping people to choose the right solution.
To make sure you are providing this kind of help, you must understand:
- Your customers’ needs, problems, and motivations. They’re not looking for a salesman: they need something or someone to ease their daily struggles.
- The true potential and capacities of your solution. In my case, how Imagicle can fit in their situation by enhancing their capabilities.
- The market you’re dealing with. A technical background is a must if you want to achieve your purpose. It means having a good knowledge of all the players in the market and how they can affect your offer.
- Your competitive benefits. Explain clearly what are the plus points your company is bringing on the table apart from the specific needs you can cover. Such things as support, software update, advanced services, but also your vision and the future growth prospects you can offer.
Once you’ve combined these four ingredients, you have a real chance to win your deal, and, more importantly, to earn your customer’s trust. Your first commitment, indeed, must always be to create an honest relationship. Your solution won’t be necessarily the most suitable for your customer, so stop selling, stop talking, and try to listen carefully before deciding if you are the right person to help on the matter.
6 golden rules to turn yourself into a (sales) wizard.
All right, enough bla bla bla for today.
I’m sure you want to know how to put all this theory into practice.
Here are the 6 (i)magic(le) formulas to host successful online meetings.
1. Be prepared.
Before a meeting, web meeting, or call:
- clarify your objectives;
- ask for at least 20 minutes of their time. If they do not have 20 minutes, it’s better to reschedule the meeting;
- make sure to involve the relevant people (both in your company and your customer’s);
- provide the right presentations and be ready for demos;
- choose a nice, quiet room and dress up appropriately (yes, sure you’ll have to turn your video on).
2. First 5 minutes. Starting off with a bang.
You have less than five minutes to convince your customer that it’s worth listening to you.
Use them wisely to:
- introduce yourself;
- introduce the company (briefly);
- smile a lot. As the old Chinese proverb says, “a man without a smiling face must never open a shop”.
3. Questions, your key to unlocking all doors.
Ask questions, lots of them. In addition to establishing empathy and showing interest in the person you talk to, asking questions is key to find, understand, and resolve your customer’s problems.
If you want to know what questions, take a look at the examples below.
During a call with a customer, you can ask:
- What is the problem you are trying to resolve?
- How is this problem affecting you or other parts of the company? How bad is that?
- What have you tried any other solution before? Did it work?
- What are you expecting from this solution?
- Do you have a budget allocated to resolve the problem?
- Who’s in charge of this decision?
During a call with a partner, you can ask:
- Tell me something about your company.
- Is collaboration a significant part of your business?
- Do you know our many M$ revenues does your company generate through collaboration?
- How many collab. solutions architect or collab SE work in your company?
- What kind of tool are you using at the moment for call recording, call accounting etc.? What are you using them for?
- Is there any other partner besides Imagicle that you particularly like? Why?
Asking questions is not always easy. It’s something like a “do ut des”.
If you succeed in conveying confidence to the people you’re talking to, they will be more likely to answer you, cause they will understand it’s going to benefit them too.
Let them talk. A one-hour call on Webex where the customer does not ask questions is a wasted hour, and probably a missed opportunity. Remember to be curious; try to understand what motivates them. You will find out that, for example, IT admins are not usually driven by technology or money (by the way, it’s not their money!) but by time management and the way it affects their company. Help them in those matters, help them save time (or getting invisible, who knows!).
4. Bring value.
Gathering the right pieces of information can help you in advising your customers at best.
First of all, you’ll be able to help them clarify their needs. You can provide examples of how your solution can mitigate their problem or how other companies in the same vertical solved the issue through the solution you’re offering.
Be prepared to find very few technology enthusiasts in the market.
Most people want something that is going to work for real and is bulletproof. You need to produce evidence. Saying that your solution can send 1000 faxes in a minute is much different from saying there are 4 companies in the same vertical using Stonefax and sending more than 1000 faxes.
5. Call to action.
The second most crucial thing after asking questions is explaining what are going to be the next steps. This passage is terribly important to keep the ball rolling and commit to a specific date. The next step can be another meeting with more people involved, perhaps the presale team; or it could be sending them a quote or asking their feedback.
6. Take notes.
You’re almost there. You only have to do one last thing (last but not least, as usual!).
Take 10 minutes to put the info on , schedule your next steps, and assign tasks. Also, send all the necessary material to the partner/end user straight after the meeting.
(To learn how best to use Salesforce to manage sales, check out here.)
Well, guys, I hope everything was clear so far (if not, please leave a comment below!).
Of course, these are basic rules. And yet, by following them carefully, you will discover you can really obtain what you want from your web meetings.
Which, as you certainly get by now, is most often people’s trust.
If you have any questions, just bring it on, and if you happen to be around Miami, stop by the Imagicle office in Fort Lauderdale and meet us in person!
We will have a lot to talk about!