I think I’ve had something wrong about sales for a long time. I followed the classic wisdom of playing the numbers. If I met with 40 qualified opportunities (prospects that fit my ideal or “bread-and-butter” prospect profile), I would be ecstatic to close eight, and for the remaining 33 I would follow up with a drip marketing campaign and hope that someday in the future they would think of me and reach back out.
The concept of a drip marketing system—using emails or webinars and perhaps a phone call from time to time—to re-engage managed services prospects who didn’t convert is fine in theory, but I also believe that it can become a sales crutch. When we have faith in our drip marketing, we may be tempted to not push as hard during the sale, or we may avoid the more difficult conversations because we know in the back of our minds that we have a system in place to continue marketing to this prospect.
We should not abandon drip marketing but rather we should enter a sales conversation with the mindset that it is a unique self-contained opportunity. If we don’t deliver a great sales experience, that’s it. We missed our shot.
I say this because it reframes the moment we should be trying to build for our prospects.
When drip marketing doesn’t work
Think of it this way: When you visit Disney World, the big bet is on the experience you have while you are in the park. Disney has an incredible marketing team, and they continue to market to guests after they’ve left the park. But no follow-up call or email will ever be as powerful as the memories that were built in the park itself. If you had a memorable adventure at Disney World, follow-up marketing may give you the idea to go back, but if your time there was lackluster, no amount of drip marketing is likely to convince you to book another trip to see Mickey Mouse.
Visitors remember the experience fondly, or they don’t. It’s that black and white for the prospect.
B2B sales is not so different. If a business owner (or key decision-maker) takes a meeting with you, they have already done something out of the ordinary. Your high-value prospects already work with someone in your field, and the prospect may not even believe they need a new solution.
But for one meeting, they committed to hearing what you have to say. They’re stepping into your park and are giving you the chance to be memorable.
If #MSPS don’t deliver a memoralbe sales experience, that’s it. You missed your shot. @BradStoller @SmarterMSP
How to build memorable sales experiences
Here’s how to build a memorable sales experience that is unique to you and the factors that set you apart from your competition:
- Hone your message to make it more compelling. The average sales pitch drifts toward a mediocre average. Develop a story about who you are and who you help that rises above simple service promises and speaks to your prospect in a way that engages their emotions.
- Be bold. Part of creating a memorable sales experience is talking and behaving in a way that your competitors don’t. That doesn’t mean being obnoxious, but it can mean disagreeing with a prospect, standing up for yourself if you aren’t treated as a peer, and embracing difficult conversations instead of shying away from them.
- Challenge the way your prospect thinks. Many business owner prospects have well-developed perspectives about their business, but if you can make them see something differently, you lay the groundwork for something memorable. Yes, you and the prospect will be uncomfortable for part of that discussion, but if you present your ideas well, your prospect will see you not as a salesperson but as an innovator with worthwhile insights.
- Be creative with the experience you craft. You don’t need to bring a costumed character to a meeting to standout. For example, one of our clients mails his prospects copies of his book before his appointment setters make a call. His prospects remember that he sent them a gift and take the meeting, resulting in a noticeable increase in appointment ratios. Find places where you can go beyond the status quo to stand out to your prospects.
- Finish strong. Part of creating a memorable sales experience is ending on a positive note. This means knowing when to end a meeting and step away, and it also means respecting and keeping time commitments. Build a strong exit into your sales process so that you can withdraw at the right moment instead of overstaying your welcome. When you leave, the prospect should still be excited and curious, wanting to learn more from you and to do more work with you.
End on a highpoint
As you reimagine your sales experience, know that you don’t have to innovate at every twist and turn. Being memorable is not about doing everything differently but rather about making a few key choices that standout to your prospect.
To return to our Disney World example, in the book The Power of Moments, the authors tell the story of polling guests throughout their day. When they asked guests at the end of every hour how they rated the last hour, they saw responses like 6.5 out of 10, or 7 out of 10. When they switched to asking patrons at the end of the day, they got responses like 9 out of 10 or 10 out of 10.
It turned out that guests used a highpoint during the day and the final moment of the day to assess how they felt about the whole experience.
So, go build a highpoint for your prospects and deliver a sales experience that leaves you and your message echoing in their minds.