Sales is a race against time. A race to hit a target.
At the start of every week, every month and every quarter, the clock starts ticking.
Building, establishing and cultivating relationships is crucial to the process. Buyers have to trust you. It is your job to get to know them, understand what they need and how your company can solve specific challenges. But at the end of the day, if you’re having lots of productive chats, lots of coffees and calls, but you aren’t closing any deals, you won’t last long in sales.
Overcoming the time challenge
Once you’ve got through to a potential buyer and qualified them as a lead, you need to keep on their radar.
For many reasons, a qualified lead might not be ready to buy just yet. Maybe they need for a new budget cycle to roll around. Or they’re waiting to hear back from prospects in their pipeline before they start investing more money in new products and services to support growth.
As a salesperson, this means you’ve got a prospect in the pipeline. Potentially a profitable one, whereby the lifetime value is worth the extra wait. However, to ensure you hit this month’s or quarter’s target, you’ve got to focus on more immediate opportunities. Ones that are ready to buy now, not six months from now.
One of the challenges for salespeople is: How do you keep a qualified prospect engaged without investing too much time?
Here are 3 ways to do that while you focus on qualified leads that are ready to buy.
3 ways to keep prospects engaged: low-touch approach
During this phase in the buyer’s journey, you need to maintain and nurture the relationship without investing too much time. Or coming across as too pushy. Helpful, informative, even funny is the best way to keep prospects engaged that can’t say yes right away.
Aim to spend no more than an hour or so a week nurturing these prospects, and depending on how soon they’re going to be ready to make a decision, maintain a two or more week gap between contact. Keeping in contact every week or few days will undermine what you hope to achieve.
Before you dive in, make sure to ask yourself, “What would I want to see if I was in the buyer’s shoes?” Your conversations, meetings, live demo calls and emails should give you an idea how to manage this relationship.
#1: Share helpful information on social media
Whenever possible, connect with your prospects on social media. LinkedIn is the most useful platform for B2B buyers, although Twitter, Instagram and other platforms could serve a valuable connection point too, depending on your sector.
Share articles, videos, posts from mutual connections, even memes and GIFs, whenever appropriate. Even tag them, if you’ve stumbled across or researched something that might be useful. If you don’t want to give others a competitive advantage, then share this in an email or send them a message through the platform you are connected on.
#2: Make an introduction
No one knows the true power of their network until someone we know can solve a problem for someone else.
One introduction could be a game changer.
One introduction could generate an enormous amount of value.
Keeping in semi-regular contact with your prospects means they should continue to keep you in the loop. During this time, you should keep in mind some of the challenges they initially mentioned, or make note of any new ones that have emerged. Maybe a key supplier let them down. Or they need extra finance. Or you know a potential client or partner for them.
Find a way to help, to provide support and introductions beyond your goal of making the sale. When it comes to them wanting to go ahead, making a little extra effort will pay off.
#3: Be social
Depending on your relationship with your prospects, share something funny. Online or via email. If you’re getting along and text or a messaging platform would be easier, then keep in touch that way. Always ask first, of course.
When you are on the road, mention you are in the area. A chance meeting for coffee could move the relationship further forward. A prospect you’ve helped could make a useful introduction that helps you in kind, even generating new business and referrals.
Keeping prospects engaged shouldn’t be hard work. It should progress an already warm relationship forward towards a sale. Stay engaged, keep them interested and continue to be helpful.