Ever busted a gut to get a sales meeting?  You turn up and your prospect leans back, smiles and says, “Show me what you’ve got”.  You eagerly lean forward and tell all.

After an hour of spilling your beans, your prospect thanks you and says, “We’ll get back to you”, or worse, “Send me a proposal”.  And then nothing!

Unfortunately this is all too common with salespeople who make a number of fundamental mistakes that end up costing them dearly in wasted time and effort.

The first is reaching out cold and asking for a meeting without engaging in any prospect qualification first.  (Looking them up on LinkedIn is just a name at best.)

Then having the meeting without first educating the prospect in what you provide and how it helps solve specific issues they’re likely to be facing.  To be fair to the sales team, it’s not their fault.

Organisations tell their salespeople to go out and prospect.  Make calls.  Get meetings.  But without the crucial step marketing plays in attracting and qualifying, they’re making their lives so much harder than they need to be.

Marketing is often seen as the unwanted Cinderella in an organisation, rather than the princess she should be.

The late business guru Peter Drucker put it another way, “The role of marketing is to make selling superfluous”.

So let’s unpack this.

Marketing’s major job is to attract qualified prospects to your door.  Your marketing should be designed to educate your prospects as to your solutions and why you are the best choice for them.

It should evoke curiosity and encourage your prospects to want more information.  Ideally, it should also set the buying criteria.  i.e. What should a prospect be looking for in a solution and how would they know they’re getting value.

Great marketing material covers the following points:

  • Who the ideal customer is. If I as the prospect am reading this, would I immediately know this is relevant for me?  Don’t be ambiguous.
  • What problems do you solve? Be specific.  I need to immediately go, “Yes, I have that problem and I’m interested in finding a solution”.
  • Where do you add value? There may be lots of different ways of solving this or even doing nothing.  What do you bring to the table that I can’t get elsewhere?

Now, traditionally effective salespeople covered all these points in “meetings”.

But that’s a very inefficient way of doing things for a few reasons.

The first is it takes about 72 hours for the brain to process a completely new idea.  So if you go in “cold”, your prospect hasn’t had enough time to really come to grips with what you’re trying to get across.

Second, you waste a lot of time in the meeting going over this ground rather than asking questions which delve deeply into the problems they’re facing and the implications of solving them or not.

Third, arguably the most important reason is your material is designed to educate your prospects, positioning you as a trusted authority in your field.  This gives you immediate business posture as a problem solver before you walk in the door.

Put another way, you’ll be in a position that commands respect from the get go, rather than being a “salesperson” trying to spruik a product.  I can’t overemphasise the importance of this last point when it comes to making the sale easier.

So when should you send this material?

Use it as a door opener.  Send a package as lumpy, physical mail and then follow up with a call.

Or if a prospect calls you requesting a meeting, send it first and explain that it will make the meeting more productive which is why they need to consume it before you meet.

Remember, the better your “posture” and “authority”, the easier the sales process will be.  So don’t take shortcuts.

Here’s a video on why it’s super important to not be a doormat when prospecting.  Watch it here.

And of course, if you’d like help designing your pre-sales marketing process as well as how to make the sales process more efficient, give me a call on 0414-913-334.

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