Two major philosophies of salesmanship are prevalent among experts today, and the disagreement is understandable as both views have their valid points to make. The first approach is to emphasize being a strong closer over all else, while the second approach is to lean more heavily on being a great prospector. In other words, the philosophical tussle is between the importance of finding great prospects and converting the prospect you have.
Those who emphasize closing will offer such advice as the following:
- Empathize with your potential customers, but don’t end up agreeing with them on the reasons they have for not purchasing your product.
- Educate the prospect with truly valuable information they are interested in, giving them reasons to buy and a reason to return even if they don’t immediately buy.
- Avoid the topic of price as long as possible. Spending money is not a subject that motivates many, and saving money only makes sense after you have already convinced the person that your product if worthwhile.
- Avoid total closure. Getting a “maybe” is better than a “never,” and “yes” on a small point is better than “no” to everything. Have a plan to prolong the conversation in order to find at least something the prospective customer can agree to.
On the other hand, those who emphasize prospecting will promote such strategies as these:
- Focus on making every page of your website attractive, engaging, easy to navigate, and full of opportunities to fill out a sign-up form.
- Take full advantage of social media to promote your business since it can connect you to an immense audience and can be a source of friend-to-friend referrals.
- Use highly targeted and situation-specific email follow-ups to turn leads into customers.
- Offer a blog and other solid content that will build a loyal readership, from which you can “mine” future loyal clients.
- Don’t go 100% digital. Still network face to face at trade shows and other events. Exchange contact information with interested parties and add them to your database.
Sales success must ultimately entail both prospecting and closing, but building a strong, detailed list of prospects is the foundation of the whole process. Furthermore, it is much easier to close when you have good prospects to begin with and much easier to practice your closing skills when your have numerous prospects on your list. Thus, good prospecting
is the more crucial of these two important sales-steps.