If I were to choose one word for salespeople and business owners to embrace it would be “consistency." It’s not as exciting or sexy a word as say “aggressiveness” or “innovate,” but it’s a word that can make a huge difference in any long-term relationship you want to develop with a potential customer. Here are a few aspects of sales where consistency is an asset:
One of the fastest ways to lose trust with a client is to change the price they were quoted. There is nothing more frustrating and annoying for a potential customer than to get excited about a product or service, getting a price quote that is palatable and then hearing that the price went up. That said, there are certainly some times that pricing can, and should, change like when a product evolves or over a certain amount of time. But if the price shifts from one day to the next it can be perceived as shifty and subsequently it puts you in a position of having to rebuild trust with the customer.
Successful salespeople know that follow through is vital. Follow through can be as simple as telling a potential customer you’ll call them next week and actually doing that or turning in your proposal by the due date. Consistently doing what you say you are going to do is one of the most reliable ways to build trust. If you really want to be stellar at follow through, call your customer after the sale and make sure they are happy. Showing up when there isn’t a deal at stake is a great way to foster a strong long-term relationship. And clearly, following up after the sale is no-brainer if you are selling to someone that may upgrade, renew or purchase more products or services from you in the future.
Personal Branding & Social Media
One of the great tools that the modern salesperson has in their toolkit is social media and putting some careful thought in your twitter and LinkedIn profiles is important. Having consistency across your social media profiles is one way that you can subtly build trust as you interact with people across the social channels. For example, I advise my social selling consulting clients to use the same photo across all of their profiles. You should do this too. Make sure you choose a photo in which people can see your face clearly so that if and when you meet your customer in person, they can easily recognize you. That alone will not build your business, just as using social media without picking up a phone won’t close deals, but we can all use a little extra help here and there.
In the current landscape of business, our customers can do a boatload of research about a product before they ever talk to a salesperson. In fact, according to this Acquity Research Report, 90% of B2B buyers research products online before purchasing. For this reason, in conversations and emails you should use some of the same language that the customer may have seen on your website or in your marketing collateral. You want it to feel like a fluid experience moving from the research phase into the sales cycle and having consistency in the language and statistics can help that along.
Treat your CRM like the goldmine that it is. Be super-consistent about logging every lead, prospect and potential deal. It’s a fantastic tool. Here are some of the ways that I use my CRM:
- Staying on top of potential deals by creating opportunities when there is one. This allows me to focus my time where the potential revenue lies.
- Looking up a name if I’m trolling an exhibit hall at a conference and I see a prospect or customer’s booth. This way I can approach the booth and ask if my point of contact is there. If they are wonderful we can say "hi" in person. If they aren’t there, at least the person I’m talking with will know that it’s not the conference version of a cold call.
- Pulling quarterly reports to see if there are any good accounts that I haven’t attended to recently.
- Looking up notes from past conversations and emails so that when I talk to my POC, the conversation starts where we left off last time.
Being diligent and consistent about using your CRM allows you to show up as consistent to your potential clients AND it allows you to stay focused on the business, not wasting time trying to find that sticky note where you wrote down a person’s contact info.
The salesperson that thinks like the tortoise rather than the hare will win in the long run. Sales isn’t about flash and glamour, it’s about building trust and following through. Being consistent will help you do both.
About the Author:
Alice Myerhoff is author of the e-book “Social Media for Salespeople: A Step-by-Step Guide to Increasing your Leads and Sales” and a business development/sales/marketing/management executive with over 18 years of experience in industries ranging from online games, educational technology and Social business to online news media, real estate & mortgage. She is currently heading up Sales at EdSurge, and has worked at Electronic Arts, Inman News, Pivot Conference, Philips Professional Publishing, Countrywide, Princeton Capital, and the Tomorrow Project. Her party trick is being able to count to 10 in 6 languages and she is fluent in German and French. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter: @motodot
Want to make 2015 the year you close more deals than ever? Download the free e-book with 130 sales tips: