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Want to Increase Sales? Get to Know Your Prospects

One of the hardest things about sales is that you don’t always know what a prospect is thinking. However, the more effort you put into this aspect of your job, the better results you’ll see and increase sales.

Deeper Knowledge Drives Better Results

“For many of your potential prospects, most of the time, sticking with the status quo is usually the comfortable choice,” sales expert Bob Apollo notes. “It’s no wonder that so many complex sales cycles end up with the customer deciding to do nothing rather than embark on a potentially costly and risky change.”

Apollo touches on a very important issue – and one that very few business owners and salespeople think about. Your biggest threat isn’t a competitor or competing product – it’s a prospect’s comfort with the status quo. And if you don’t dig in and get to know your prospects, you’ll find it nearly impossible to be successful.

Want to Increase Sales? Get to Know Your Prospects

When you roll up your sleeves and jump in the mud, you begin to figure out some things that weren’t apparent when your primary focus was on staying clean. Not only will you learn more about what sort of status quo your prospects are experiencing, but you’ll get up close and personal with their pain points.

Deeper knowledge of who your prospects are will most certainly drive better sales results. Because when you you’re intimately familiar with your prospects, you’re able to identify their pain points and explain how your solution moves them from “Point A” to “Point B” with minimal risk and discomfort to establish a new and better status quo.

5 Tips for Getting to Know Your Prospects

Every prospect is different – and you’ll need to tailor your approach on an individual basis from time to time – but the following tips will help you get to know your customer base faster and more thoroughly.

#1. Ask the Right Questions

Everything starts with asking the right questions. When you meet with prospects, you should be less focused on how you look and what sort of body signals they’re sending. On the other hand, you should be more interested in probing with the right questions.

“Chances are, your competitors are asking questions, but they’re only skin deep,” sales expert Sean McPheat points out. “Instead, you need to drill down to the root causes of the issues your prospects face at a much deeper level and demonstrate your expertise on the subject.”

#2. Know How to Listen

Asking the right questions is only half the battle. If you’re going to take the effort to come up with the right questions, you need to take the time to listen and understand what your prospects are saying.

When it comes to comprehension, one of the best listening tactics is to hear what a prospect says and then clarify and rephrase it out loud. The prospect will either agree, which lets you know you’re tracking, or disagree, which tells you that you’re not understanding them.

#3. Understand Different Personality Types

Anyone who has been in the business world for any amount of time – or even just business school, for that matter – has taken personality assessment tests. And while they’re most commonly used to understand yourself, you can also use them to better understand other people – including prospects. One especially powerful test is the DiSC personality assessment tool, which stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.

“The DiSC personality model provides an opportunity for a better understanding of the people to whom you are selling,” says Michael Whatmore, a San Francisco-based business coach. “If you understand the personalities of the people with whom you are communicating, you can modify your approach to ease communications and make a significant difference in your outcomes.”

#4. Conduct Online Research and Polling

As someone who has grown up in a world where technology is ubiquitous, it’s easy to lose sight of the advantages you have and take the internet/social media for granted.

For perspective, imagine yourself as a salesperson in 1970. (If you’re old enough, you might not have to imagine it all.) At the time, how crazy would it have been if someone approached you and told you that you had the ability to instantaneously throw out a poll question or publish a survey and get thousands of results within hours? You would have jumped at the opportunity, right? Well, it’s not a far-fetched idea in 2017.

You have the ability to conduct online research and polling with very little effort. Stop taking this for granted and make the most of it.

#5. Speak With Your Current Clients

Who are your closest clients? Who are the ones you can call up and instantly get in touch with, no matter what? These are the folks you need to be cultivating strong relationships with. By tapping into their brains and understanding what makes them tick, you can gain a better understanding of who your other prospects are. It’s like being able to peek behind the curtain and see who’s pulling the strings.

Do You Know Your Prospects?

So many businesses and their salespeople spend countless hours of their day trying to sell to prospects, yet few are willing to put forth the time and effort it takes to truly understand who these prospects are. Ironically, it’s this lack of due diligence that ultimately inhibits sales and puts a low ceiling on revenue figures.

You wouldn’t get down on one knee and propose to someone without first getting to know them and understanding who they are, would you? While building relationships and understanding people takes time, effort, and lots of energy, it’s a necessary component of being a successful salesperson, entrepreneur, or business owner.

There are many different strategies and techniques you can implement in order to understand your prospects, but the ones highlighted in this article provide a good foundation upon which you can build.

Take your time and don’t rush the process. It sounds cliché, but that’s where it all starts.


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Jenna is a freelance writer and business consultant who covers business, technology, and entrepreneurship. She's lectured for several universities, and worked with over 100 businesses over the course of the last 15 years. Follow her on Twitter.

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