Have you ever gotten a prospect close to becoming a customer and then saw the sale stall as they asked for more time, more information, or needed to check with another decision maker before making a decision themselves?
Most salespeople consider these delays part of their sales cycle, but in industries that already have years-long sales processes, anything that speeds up the sales cycle while providing a transparent experience is something they’re willing to invest in.
That’s what got us speaking with Bruce Evans, Vice President of Franchise Development with Capriotti’s. He’s responsible for ensuring his sales team doesn’t just sell a product or service, but actually sells customers an entire business model. This means he, and his team, have a complicated sales and onboarding process. They’ve learned that the more questions they can answer ahead of time, the faster their sales cycle becomes.
To do that, his team researches the customer journey and ensures they’re gathering common challenges and responses from every part of a customer’s buying journey – meaning when a prospect has a question that might stall the sale, Bruce’s salespeople have a ready-made response.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Bruce recommends setting the trigger for the story arc on the initial phone call with the prospect. That trigger needs to activate a story that addresses the prospect’s challenges and questions – a story that walks a prospect through the most likely concerns and questions a prospect might have through their buying journey.
R – Repeatable: Using a public relations firm to create and manage the story and create a ‘halo’ around the brand is what larger firms rely on to make their stories repeatable. However, a savvy salesperson can build this story by asking each team that handles a customer lifecycle in your company, “What questions do our customers show up asking, and what is our most common response?” Once those questions are gathered, we can then start creating stories of previous customers that address those challenges so we can head off common objections before they occur.
I – Improvable: An easy way to improve the messaging you’re sending to prospects in this sequence is to convert your blogs/email copy to video. This can be done with a cell phone as you interview the people who help customers become successful with your product or service or hiring a video production company.
Of course, gathering feedback from customers on questions you didn’t address during while they were considering becoming customers is rich material for updating your email, direct mail and even video material.
M – Measurable: To ensure our salespeople are leveraging these stories, Bruce recommends leaders have conversations with their salespeople and listen in on the conversations they’re having with prospects. That ensures that salespeople are all speaking with a unified voice and sharing the same message and working towards the same goals.
Instead of checking for CRM data, this means building the stories alongside salespeople and getting feedback on which pieces of content generated callbacks, conversations and conversions.