Most business owners HATE sales. And for good reason. When most people think of sales, images of the Boiler Room or used car salesmen come to mind. This is the hard sell, a high pressure routine designed to sell product without any regard to the actual needs of the customer.
This is not the best way to sell.
If you’re looking to create a devout following and delight your customers, you won’t get very far with the hard sell. The entire way you think about selling needs to change.
Instead of focusing on closing the sale, you’ll want to look for excuses to not sell your prospect.
That’s right, you want to find a reason for your prospect to go elsewhere.
This sounds ludicrous. And it is. But it works wonders.
Put the Prospect First
Your entire focus during the close (and all marketing or sales) needs to be figuring out how to provide an extraordinary amount of value to every person you do business with. In other words, you want to filter your prospects to make sure you can make them incredibly happy.
When you only do business with customers that are practically guaranteed to love your product or service, you’ll drastically increase word of mouth which is one of the three engines of sustainable growth.
Granted, you will lose revenue in the short term as you turn away some prospects. But you’ll make more than you could have possibly imagined in the long run as your customers evangelize your brand.
This will also free up your time and allow you to focus on the small percentage of your customers that contribute significantly to your bottom line. Remember: 20% of your customers account for 80% of your revenue. And when you focus on your best customers, you can also figure out how to find more of them which will grow your business substantially.
Reasons to Turn Prospects Away
First and foremost, find out if they’re looking for a solution that you can provide. Ask them the following questions:
- What’s your primary goal with _____? (Fill in the blank with the general service you provide like fitness, marketing, accounting, etc).
- Where do you want to be 3 months from now?
- If you achieved X, what would that mean to you?
These three questions will give you an excellent idea of whether or not you can genuinely help your prospect. Feel free to ask followup questions to really dive into their goals and aspirations. The best salespeople listen more than they talk.
Once you’ve determined that you can help them achieve their goals, you’ll need to make sure they’re able to purchase your product. Ask them what their budget is and when they would like to start. If they don’t have the cash on hand and aren’t willing to start right now, turn them away. Then offer to get back in touch with them when the timing is better.
How to Turn Prospects Away
If you discover that you won’t be able to help a prospect, don’t just bail on them. You want to point them in the right direction so they can still find what they’re looking for.
Know the best players in your industry that go after slightly different target markets than you (different types of customers, different price points, different specialties, etc). This will allow you to give amazing referrals to people that aren’t your ideal customer.
And when these prospects find everything they were looking for, they’re going to remember you. They’ll recommend you to their friends because they have a really clear idea of what you do and also know that you’re as honest as it gets.
What if you don’t have many customers and need every dollar you can muster just to keep the lights on?
If you’re just starting a business, you won’t have the luxury of turning away a few customers. This is completely fine. In fact, you probably don’t have a great vision of what your value offering is or who your most valuable customers are. This means you need to be doing a lot of testing, getting to know a lot of customers, and going after every sale you can.
Even if you need every sale and they aren’t your ideal customer, you still need to make sure that you’re providing them a great deal of value.
Once you’ve figured out what your target market is, how you want to differentiate your product, and what your customers care about the most, you’ll have enough revenue to turn away some prospects.