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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Overcoming Challenges in Converting Prospects

Overcoming Challenges in Converting Prospects

Salespeople, even great salespeople, sometimes have trouble closing the deal. Getting to yes is often the hardest part of the sales process.

How hard?

As many as 57% of salespeople reported difficulty converting prospects into customers. If your team is having trouble with conversions, the first thing to do is figure out why.

Why is it Becoming Harder to Convert Prospects?

The answer for every team will vary somewhat, but there are a few sticky problems that appear repeatedly.

Trey Morris, VP/ Senior Consultant at CSS, recently discussed this very topic, and he had three major concerns:

  • Salespeople are pitching products instead of solutions.
  • Businesses need more help figuring out what is working and what’s not.
  • Salespeople are not persistent and unique in their approach.

Stop Wasting Time with the Wrong Prospects

Trey suggests focusing on solutions, not products, and having a sense of humor. Both will help you get in the door to see that prospect. That means salespeople have to take the time to know their customers and know what works for them and what does not.

While that sounds simple, think about the last time you got a cold call about a product you weren’t already using. Did the person calling you know anything at all about your business?

Some salespeople are learning to get around this by asking them to set up a get-to-know-you meeting with their prospects, mining their target audience for information about what they need. Of course, that requires getting the prospect to meet with you in the first place. Trey says the research indicates that people must often be contacted between 7 and 9 times before agreeing to a meeting.

That’s where the 90-day rule becomes so important. To convert prospects to sales, your team needs to reach out to those prospects regularly. And they need to be able to spend time researching their target audience. After all, your target audience wants to know what you can do for them.

Business News Daily points out that research is the most important thing you can do to convert prospects. If your salespeople focus on the product you are selling and not what the customer is buying, they will never be able to make that conversion.

Once your team understands why they are having trouble reaching their target audience, it’s time to answer the who and when of the sales process. Then, we can talk about how to get it done.

When Are They Trying to Close the Sale?

Sometimes, a sales team may miss the opportunity to turn a prospect into a customer. There is an adage in sales to always be closing, but they may not be the best approach for today’s budget-conscious buyers.

There is a lot of competition, and differentiating yourself with features and benefits may not be enough. In this market, you need to be able to tell the customer how buying helps them and why they should do it now rather than a few months down the road. Creating urgency in the sales process is a great tactic if it is true.

Never claim that the price will be higher next week unless it is. Chances are your target persona is tech-savvy and can check online to find the best deals. Never underestimate them.

But once you fully explain why they should be buying, don’t wait for a follow-up call or be put off until later. The best time to close a sale is when the information is fresh in their minds.

Prospects Do NOT Care About Your Features and Benefits

How Are They Approaching the Conversion?

Make sure your team knows to ask explicitly for the sale.

That can seem like simple advice, but many people new to sales will forget to ask. Remind your team to ask at multiple points in their close if the prospect is ready to buy, but more importantly, they should know where the buyer is in the buyer’s journey.

When we say that research is one of the most important parts of the job, we aren’t kidding. Your target persona is not usually someone who just realized they have a problem. They may have done weeks of research themselves before agreeing to hear if your product can meet their needs. You have to help them get from their research stage to their buying stage.

Help Your Team by Following These Simple Steps

1. Research the target persona and know how your product helps them. Approach the first meeting with humor and respect.

2, Make your target personas the top tier of your sales funnel. Don’t waste your time shooting at every target; focus on the best targets.

3. Know where your target persona is in the buyer’s journey. Spend time educating new prospects for future sales but concentrate sales efforts on those ready to buy.

4. Ask for the sale. If the customer never gets the final information, including the price and how to buy it, they can’t say “Yes.”


Topics: prospecting sales challenges