Perhaps you have a Potential Buyer who is amiable and interested in your product, yet who is unable to decide whether or not that product is something their company needs. Although it’s clear that this prospect can benefit from what your company has to offer, he or she just won’t commit after several attempts to close a sale. Perhaps this potential buyer continuously asks for more information, or for more time to make a decision. Every time you leave this prospect’s office without a signature, you wonder if all the time and attention will ever pay off.
What gives? What’s the reason for the lack of momentum in Potential Buyer’s sales process?
Although a part of the reason that Potential Buyer acts this way has to do with their own personality, the reality of the matter is that poor customer relationship management is what’s actually perpetuating this lukewarm behavior. By identifying and eliminating poor CRM habits, you can develop a leaner and more results-driven book of business.
Habits that Form Lukewarm Prospects
There are lots of bad habits that can result from customer relationship management solutions which aren’t results-driven:
You overly inflate your market.
Ray Silverstein, President of the President’s Resource Organization, said: “The bigger your market, the greater likelihood you’re wasting your time with undesirable prospects.” Basically: you need to identify the people who will be most likely to buy from you, instead of wasting time trying to gain traction with prospects who aren’t getting the most value out of what you have to offer.
Things get personal, rather than professional.
Sometimes a friend or a family member can become a lukewarm prospect not because they’re a qualified lead, but because you feel obligated to spend time with them if they express even a small amount of interest in your product. While this kind of relationship is fun for engaging in informal conversations, these activities don’t necessarily lead to a sale. Make sure you’re not wasting your time, and don’t beat around the bush.
Miscommunications about timelines, needs, or investments cause stress.
It can be a nightmare to spend weeks on a proposal only to find that the ultimate decision makers weren’t in the market for what your company offered, or that they’re weren’t financially prepared to purchase. If you do not qualify prospects based on their need, intention, and potential for investment, you’re going to end up wasting a lot of extra hours grooming prospects who won’t ever make a purchase.
Creating a Leaner Book of Business
The real question you should be asking is: How can I turn my lukewarm prospects into actual sales? The trick is to clearly set up a personal system of qualification (and elimination) so that your book of business is filled with individuals who truly matter.
Target your marketing.
“Selling to everyone” wastes everyone’s times. Lindsay Bayuk, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Infusionsoft says, “Define who your best customers are and then ask them about their challenges. Next, ask them why they love you.” Here’s a quick 3-step model to target your marketing for better prospects.
- Make a list of your 10 best customers. Note what they have in common.
- Ask your customers why they buy from you. Create a short survey and see what sets your company apart.
- Narrow your prospect list based on the specific needs your company fulfills. If your best customers say that your customer service or turnaround time is what makes you different, tailor your marketing to people who most need those services.
Author and sales guru Alan Rigg suggests a form of sales qualification that will help you avoid lukewarm prospecting based on timeline, need, or investment level. By asking these questions up front, you’ll avoid long-term investigators who are unprepared to buy.
- Money – Does the prospect have a budget? What is it?
- Authority – Does the prospect have authority to buy?
- Information – What information is necessary for a decision to be made?
- Need – What are the prospect’s most pressing needs? Do their needs necessitate an investment in a product or service like yours?
- Buying Process – What is the buying process and how will it affect the profitability of the sale?
If your personal associates are taking up your time and not buying, you are losing money on every sales call. Be up front and honest with these transactions so that you can maintain your friendships as well as spend your time where you need to.
Some effective phrases include:
- “Whether or not you buy from me, we’ll still be friends. But, I need to know if you’re serious about this process right now.”
- “If I get you this last piece of information, will you be prepared to make a decision?”
- “We have been talking about this sale for over a year. Unfortunately, I can’t invest any more time without a solid commitment that you will buy in the next two weeks.”
By incorporating these customer relationship management skills, you can eliminate or transition all of your lukewarm prospects. By enforcing a strict model of qualification, being straightforward with potential clients, and eliminating unmotivated buyers, you’ll close more sales and make much better use of your time.