Sales Process Q&A - Part Three of Three, AIDAR and More
Concluding this multi-part blog series, here are my answers to the last three questions asked by a trade pub editor for an article on sales process.
Q: How can a salesperson get better at identifying people who are serious about doing business with them?
A: When the conversation inevitably comes down to price, offer trial balloon "value sell" statements such as:
- "My company made a decision years ago. We can either explain our value one time or poor service many times. We chose value."
- "If I sell on price, I may get a customer today. If I sell on value, I’ll get a customer for a lot of tomorrows."
- "Salespeople sell on price when there’s nothing else. Do you agree?"
- "You are right, we are higher than some. But we focus on providing value and in turn getting repeat customers, not one-timers."
- "Warren Buffett is fond of saying, 'Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.' Since any buyer can usually find a lower price or two, we focus on delivering value while remaining price-competitive."
If you sniff out a price buyer, do yourself a favor and try a "walkaway" statement like:
- "Sounds like you’re getting a better deal somewhere else. Maybe we shouldn’t waste any more time."
If your sniffer was right and you’re dealing with a price-only buyer, then he or she will let you walk ... and you’ll be better off. If not, you’ve blown through the price smokescreen and can get down to business.
Q: When and how often should a salesperson follow up? Please explain.
A: Follow up depends on what activity you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re early in the AIDAR process (create Awareness, generate Interest, elicit Desire, get Action, transact Reorders) with a prospect, be more patient. The rule of thumb once was to make seven contacts before dropping a prospect. Then, about a decade or so ago, I heard a demand generation expert say that the new number had become 11.
Today’s ubiquity of sales automation tools, coupled with gnat-sized attention spans, leads me to doubt there’s an appropriate rule of thumb regarding frequency of contact anymore. All I can say is you darn well better protect your most valuable asset: your time. While you might be willing to continue nurturing a dormant qualified prospect via a company newsletter, blog or other auto-contact device, there certainly comes a time when zero-responders should be removed from active sales prospect lists.
However, if you’re further along the AIDAR scale with a prospect, perhaps at the quoting stage, then you do deserve meaningful feedback. If your prospect authorized you to work on their behalf, you should feel empowered to contact them until the cows come home.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Winners compete on knowledge and provide great content. These days, my consulting business is structured into these buckets:
- Brand development
- Content creation
- Content distribution
- Pipeline management
- Business structure
Notice none of these are about sales? Or, perhaps all are?
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Well, that about does it for this three-part series. Next time, on to something else! I might even tell you about the marathon I was scheduled to run a few days ago as referenced in my 3/21/16 blog "Demand Generation is a Workout." Hmmm ...
Repetitive non-sequitur: Meet in Düsseldorf?
Let me repeat the same offer I’ve made at the end of my last few blog posts. If you want to put sales growth, relevant content marketing and lead generation on your drupa dance card, contact me. I’ll be in Düsseldorf June 3-6. Reference "Christmas in June," and the first Altbier’s on me.