There are innumerable ways to total destroy the remotest chance of industrial marketing success. Uplifting thought, I would say. In this two part blog you will discover the critical importance of aligning every aspect of your selling process to improving your odds of successfully selling more of your prospects.

Just for fun (because I am always such a fun fellow) let’s assume you are a salesperson and, wonder of wonders, you have a qualified sales lead calling your company and asking to speak with a salesperson who just happens to be you. Does life get any better than this? Well my advice is to not go buy that new car you have wanted for so long as there are many ways you can destroy the value from an inbound lead.

From the first call to the purchase order there are several points where a poorly aligned selling process will lead to disaster. Here are the chief culprits.

Initial contact with your company
On numerous occasions in the past I have written about the importance of your receptionist in positioning your company. Your receptionist is the first point of contact with your prospects and the manner in which your prospects are handled is their first indicator of what type of company you are working for.

This interaction is the first opportunity where you can build trust (and value) with your prospects. If your shiny new sales lead calls and your receptionist is inattentive or indifferent it will make a very poor first impression. While your receptionist does not need to be singing the company song and jumping up and down when the phone rings being pleasantly engaging with prospects is a minimum requirement. In this day and age of automated attendants the same principles apply to any staff member answering the phone when the caller asks to be connected with the operator.

I tell my industrial marketing consulting clients that training a receptionist to be truly effective needs to go well beyond how to operate the phone system. The actions of your receptionist need to illustrate their alignment with your strategy and marketing communications

Initial phone contact with sales       
The first contact your prospect has with you as a salesperson is what I refer to as the second first impression. The point of this is that although it is their second interaction with your company it is their first interaction with you. This phone call allows you to position yourself in the minds of your prospects. It also allows you to align yourself with your company’s strategy and marketing communications.

The key point here is that prior to this initial phone conversation you are an unknown quantity. Equally important, this phone call allows you to “set the stage” for your future selling interactions. So like the old saying goes “Start as you intend to finish.” This critical first call needs to be completely focused on discussing this particular prospect’s challenges and aspirations. As a salesperson your key purpose is to illustrate a genuine mindset of service at all times when speaking with your prospects.

This call affords both you and your prospect an opportunity to mutually decide if further conversation is warranted. Far better to go no further after a short call than to waste time on expensive field sales calls that will ultimately result in a no, or a no-decision.

Watch for part two coming soon.

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