Friction may be a great way to start a fire, but it’s a lousy way to fuel your sales process. The dirty little secret of selling is that buyers can be highly skittish. Even a minor bump in the road can cause them to leave the journey — and leave you without a deal. That’s not exactly comforting, particularly at a time when 72% of salespeople say they’re unlikely to hit their sales goals this year.
With this in mind, you want the process from your first meeting to client onboarding to go as smoothly as possible to ensure a lasting relationship. Essentially, you’re preparing a runway designed for a stress-free takeoff. And while this sounds simple, it’s hard as nails if you don’t plan in advance.
The problem is that there are many places where friction can occur. For instance, being just five minutes late to a Zoom call can leave a bad taste in a time-conscious prospect’s mouth. Even if the delay was due to an Internet problem and wasn’t directly your fault, it could affect your ability to close.
How do you make sure that your sales process is generally as seamless as possible? Try putting some measures into place early and often.
1. Create a rundown of historical sales obstacles.
A great way to remove potential roadblocks is to generate a “hot list” of past problems you and your sales team have encountered. Take the above-mentioned failed Zoom call. Is this a recurring issue? Do you need to invest in a hotspot so you always have backup? These might seem like small issues, but they could be big enough pain points to make clients think twice about trusting your company with their business.
Once you have a running list of past friction incidents, work through them. Look for solutions that can be implemented right away. Though you can be sure that other concerns will arise over time, you’ll at least be tackling the low-hanging fruit that’s getting in the way of a serious sales harvest.
Don’t forget that oft-repeated objections belong on this list. Plenty of salespeople aren’t able to successfully overcome the objections they hear all the time. As a result, they wind up getting tongue-tied or giving disparate answers. Generating definitive answers for them to use can make a significant difference in hearing “yes” or “no” from prospects.
2. Incorporate tech solutions into your sales machine.
Technology is your friend when you’re a busy sales professional. While not all tech innovations are relevant to your needs, others may help you overcome your client challenges quickly.
Say you keep running into the same conundrum of sales representatives booking appointments with different people from the same business. As noted by Cirrus Insight in a recent article, this kind of double booking happens frequently and can lead to client confusion, not to mention lost revenue. And a confused client is always less likely to feel comfortable making you their preferred partner. In this case, a tech tool that allows everyone to scan each others’ appointments for overlap could be extremely valuable.
Though you’ll have to invest in any tech solution you employ, your payback should far outweigh your initial cash outlay. Just be sure that all your people know how to use the technology you bring to them — and monitor them to be certain they’re applying that knowledge regularly. As they begin to experience fewer stumbles and make more sales, they’ll be inclined to maximize their use of any products you recommend.
3. Take on the persona of expert mentor.
Nothing positions you in a better light with prospects and clients than when you take on the role of teacher. Educating clients on your industry, your products and services, and other facts can be a gamechanger. Not only will your clients be more ready to work with you, but they’ll see you as the go-to expert in your field. That’s an enviable position to be in.
You’ll need marketing and sales collateral to help you become a mentor to your clientele, which is something 48% of sales professionals say they lack. (In other words, having items can give you an instant edge over half of your competitors!) Collateral can include case studies, whitepapers, reports with proprietary statistics, articles, and perhaps even infographics. Plan to work with the marketers within your company to develop a library of accessible, content-rich assets you can pass along to clients throughout the sales journey.
Remember that you can build your credibility further by improving your personal thought leadership reputation. Being a guest on a podcast, hosting a series of free webinars, writing guest articles for publications, and presenting at conferences can all boost your perceived standing as a skilled, informed professional. Though you might find yourself bombarded by more questions from clients who are interested in your opinions and advice, you’ll be able to walk beside them as a guide. The result? A genuine, frictionless seller-client relationship that’s built on peer-to-peer learning and deep respect.
Why make it easy for your prospects to ghost you because of a few avoidable snags? Take the time now to remove any bumps or jolts in your sales pipeline. When you do, you’ll find that more of your qualified leads are eager to sign on the bottom line.