Selling B2B Services - Converting Warm leads Into Eager Clients - Part One
One of the difficulties in selling a service is that potential clients (we'll call them "prospects" here) often don't know whether they should be using what you provide.
Your prospect has a problem, but they may not understand how your service can help them. And even if they've tried a similar service in the past, or used a competitor, they're still not sure how your service will compare to that experience. They are full of doubts.
Selling services can require a much more sensitive approach than selling tangible products. Lets have a look at some of the things we can do to create a successful sales process when selling B2B services.
1) Identifying prospects.
Before you can sell you must have prospects. Identifying a prospect can be difficult because they may not know they could be your customer. Attracting prospects requires you to get their attention and help them to understand 'how' you can help them. This is not the same as telling them 'what' you do.
To encourage this understanding you really need to provide some relevant, helpful and insightful information. Prospects who are 'in the market' for your type of service will be sensitive to that type of information. They will pay attention to it and remember it. Ideally you'll be able to stimulate the prospect to feel like "I need more of that" and to contact you.
In doing so, you'll help the prospect pre-qualify themselves to a large degree. By the time they contact you they'll already have some understanding of what you might be able to do for them and very importantly, they have taken a positive action in contacting you. They're now a 'warm lead' for you.
But don't be mistaken, at this stage they have not made a decision to buy from you. Don't interpret their enquiry as a buying decision. You've still got quite a way to go.
So what's next?
2) Understanding the prospect.
At this point you don't really know if you can help them. So you should be using the initial meeting with your prospect (in person or over the phone) to gain a better understanding of what they are trying to achieve, and to discover their real needs. Ask lots of sensible questions, without interrogating them, and listen carefully to the answers. When you are planning your questions think about:
Why are they are making this decision?
Why your type of service?
What is the process they will be following?
What is their budget?
Who is involved in the decision making process?
Get names and positions of influencers and decision makers. You need to speak with them.
When does the prospect want the job completed?
Check that this matches the information you obtained in the What section.
When does the prospect expect you to do what has been discussed?
Now that you're finished asking your questions, and knowing your own capabilities… Can you still help them?
If so, proceed to make…