Some of the best sales reps I’ve worked with over the years all really know how to tell a good story. Starting out as a services company it has always been vital for our prospects to understand where we came from and how we landed here today. At the same time any solid sales rep worth their salt should be receptive to hearing their prospect’s story and why their company landed where they are today. Whether you’re offering a service or a product, it doesn’t really matter as long as you (the sales development rep) can see a natural blend and connection between what you are offering and where your prospect wants to be.
If 98% of your MQLs won’t result in closed in business (SiriusDecisions) then what are you doing about it? I may be biased in my belief, but I am surrounded by some of the best storytellers I’ve had the pleasure of working with during my entire sales career. Knowing what a day in the life Sales Development Rep really looks like, realistically they have a maximum of 3 minutes to allow a prospect to tell their story and then be able to tell their tale to determine if there enough mutual interest to move to a next step or a demo.
That brings me to my next question, why are some sales reps so very anxious to rush to a demo? There is nothing more infuriating for an inside rep who killed themselves making a large volume of calls to eventually have a targeted prospect commit to a demo, then have the closing rep run through the product or service features without asking any questions of the prospect! I could see if they are getting comped on the volume of demos that they push out on daily basis, but that doesn’t help the rep or the company. It ends up removing the entire consultative element of the sale and that is most certainly what today’s consumer is looking for. Especially, for the big ticket technology products that outside and closing reps are responsible for selling. Where is the active listening and the story in product details? The conversation and story should be around the prospect not the product.
Sorry for my rant, but it’s hard enough to get prospects’ attention due to the overwhelming amount of poorly written sales emails (feel free to check out our Sales Development Messaging toolkit here) and communication attempts by untrained SDRs. Just seeing the amount of crap that bots generate clogging up marketing platforms, along the sophistication of email filters and difficulties of actually getting prospects live on the phone, we really need to cherish those prospects that are actually taking their time to talk to us.
Now there are multiple reasons why only 2% of leads are actually converting to closed business some of which I’ve rambled on about above. Don’t be that schmucky sales guy always trying to push your own agenda. People don’t like sales professionals to begin with, so why make it harder on yourself? Again, I suggest being a storyteller...but allow your prospect to tell their story first. Then you can start working on increasing your conversion rate! What tips can you offer to better position yourself as an active listener to help yourself in creating a valuable story that your prospect will remember?