There aren’t too many mainstream books that shed light on the joys and pains of finding a niche market to sell to. Contrary to other sales books that introduce new ways of networking and closing deals, Blount does a tremendous job in reminding founders, leaders, and sellers of the importance of putting the effort and sweating it out. If you’re a sales professional looking to indulge in a good read, let Jeb Blount’s Fanatical Prospecting keep you company.
Here are a few of our favorite takeaways from the book:
Sales is designed to be challenging, not impossible.
Knowing that any form of sales activity takes nearly 100 days to pay off, successful leaders tirelessly fill their pipeline with a fusion of in-person selling, telephone marketing, networking, social selling, and cold calling. In other words, if you’re determined to close a sale, you will maximize every platform you can penetrate. People often buy on a whim or process a purchase. However, a customer completes a deal, you want to be the reason why they pay.
Phones were invented to reach out to others.
Modern business people often rely only on social media to do the work. And although Facebook and its many allies help do the job, you limit your income capacity when you amplify a single platform. Use your phone to call prospects or message potential buyers.
Time-blocking is effective.
We all spend our days differently, but when you’re bent on closing a sale, you will understand that the time you don’t spend working could be one sale lost. Learn to function at optimum speed and quality at certain times of the day. Spread out your “power hours” throughout the morning, the afternoon, and the evening.
Planting seeds is okay, too.
Not every person you talk to will want to buy from you the moment you introduce a product. Depending on where they are in their product journey, it may take 10 to 12 touch bases before they’re ready to purchase. Respect people’s boundaries, but don’t keep them out of your sight.
Social media is best for brand awareness, not sales.
Unless your commodity is a household name, don’t expect people to enjoy being sold to on social media. Psychology suggests that people prefer connecting with others online to interact and learn from each other. Because of this, approach social media with the perspective of building brand familiarity instead of closing deals.
Potential buyers meet with you for their gain, not yours.
It’s easy to think that prospects buy from you because you’re a charming salesperson. And while that may or may not be true, remember that customers buy from you because your product benefits them. For this reason, speak and sell to people with their welfare in mind. No one thinks about your quotas and commissions apart from you. Sincerity and empathy are irreplaceable.
Proving other people wrong is useless.
You can’t argue with another person into believing that you are correct. The more you try to win a prospect over by proving your point, the more they’ll want to consider theirs. As a result, learn to disrupt their thought process and effortlessly agree when they feel like you won’t. For instance, when someone says they don’t have time to speak with you, tell them you understand, and they seem like the busy type, anyway. Instead of reinforcing that you’re only going to take fifteen minutes of their time, valuing their opinion only makes them feel listened to. When you sell something, remember to empathize.
When salespeople help each other, selling becomes easy.
This is harder said than done, but when you team up with others instead of proving that you’re better, you’re more likely to get referrals from the very people you want to defeat. Know what type of people you click with the most and find out which crowds your colleagues ease into more comfortably. When you work in a team, your chances of making sales become much higher when you work with them and not against them.
Asking the right questions is critical.
Effective sellers understand that much of the selling process involves getting to know the people you’re selling to. That being the case, it’s crucial that you know how–not only to ask the right questions–but carry a conversation. Finding out about how others think and feel and where they come from should come organically. Your prospects are speaking to another human being—not a survey paper. Natural human connections are what bound us all in the end.
Personalize the e-mails you send.
Sending group e-mails can be a turnoff. When you really want to close a deal, you reach out to your prospects one by one and not collectively. Your potential buyers didn’t sign up to be part of a community newsletter. Use this platform wisely.
If we were to summarise Blount’s book into one sentence, it would be this: there is no substitute for hard work. Operating in the selling space means learning to connect with others as humanly as possible. You can study new selling strategies all you want, but Blount reminds us that, in the end, it is perseverance in empathy and sincerity that fattens our bank accounts.
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