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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Why is it Becoming Harder to Convert Prospects? With Trey Morris

ISP Trey and Matt

In this episode, we’re continuing our season-long deep dive into the latest Media Sales Report from The Center for Sales Strategy. Today, Trey Morris, VP/ Senior Consultant here at CSS, is joining Matt to help answer the question, “Why is it getting harder to convert prospects and renew clients?”

Trey brings so many great points to the table, such as:

  • How too many salespeople are pitching products instead of solutions
  • Why sellers need to do a better job of helping existing clients figure out what’s working and what’s not working early on in their business relationship
  • And, finally, why it’s so important for every seller to give the best reason possible for prospects to want to meet with them

Listen To The Podcast

Too Many Are Pitching Products, Not Solutions

Salespeople across industries are grappling with a common challenge: converting prospects into clients. According to recent data, 57% of sales professionals find it more arduous to convert prospects than ever before.

“I'm surprised that it's only 57%,” Trey says. “Based on anecdotal data of just people I talk to, it would be 108% of people think it's harder today. That's all I hear from every client that we work with. It's, ‘How do we get more meetings? How do we get more meetings? How do we convert a prospect into a client?’ And the reality is...it is harder.

“All of this really cool technology has made it super easy for us to ignore people, and so that's what's happened. I mean, especially with working remotely. So many of the people that we're trying to get in front of, they're not in the office, they're not in the store, they're somewhere else, and so getting a hold of them is tough.

“Also, you're seeing a lot of problems with people that are kind of putting their toes in the water. If they do get a meeting and there is a presentation, they're not really that serious about it because they just don't know about visibility. No one knows what the economy is going to be like in two months, six months, a year, tomorrow in a lot of cases. People are nervous. Cash flow is an issue. We get mixed signals on the economy.

“So, there's a lot of reasons that people aren't moving forward, but I think the biggest reason is that so many salespeople are still relying on pitching products, and they're not providing solutions. They're not demonstrating how they are going to add value and how they're going to be able to solve that prospect's problems or help them achieve a goal.

“The reality is that if you're just pitching product and they're already nervous about the economy and they don't really want to spend the money and they don't necessarily believe what you're talking about is going to help them, they're not going to make a decision, they're not going to say yes, they're not going to convert and become a customer, and that's just the reality of sales, no matter what you're selling.

“Focus on what you solve, not what you sell.”

Prospects Do NOT Care About Your Features and Benefits

Renewing Clients: Communicate What is Working and Not Working Early in Your Business Relationship

Renewing clients poses another set of challenges, with 42% of salespeople reporting increased difficulty in securing renewals.

“Yeah, this is something that I am seeing more of today, honestly, than I think I've ever seen before,” Trey says. “And so, I think that part of it is on the salesperson. It’s the issue of not doing what they should be doing. Part of it is not helping clients do a better job of understanding, tracking, and seeing what's working and what's not working.

“Clients are so busy today that they are not focused on tracking what works and what doesn't work. And if you're not working with them and helping them do that, giving them a system, providing information, providing data, being part of their team to educate everyone within the organization of what they're doing, what ads they're running, what specials they're offering, etc. [then they’re not going to know].

“If they're not getting good results, you're not going to get renewals, right? If you come back in and go, ‘hey, you ready to renew?’ And they're like, ‘It didn't work.’ Right, well, if this is the first time that you're finding out that something's not working and it's time for a renewal, you're dead. You're dead. There's no way you are going to save that.

“So, part of that problem of us not communicating is also not staying in touch with knowing what's working and what's not working.

“If things aren't going like you want them to go, I want to know in week one, not week 12 or 26 or 52. Because in week one or two, I can help them fix that. Maybe it's a copy issue. Maybe it's a creative issue. Maybe it's what we're running the campaign that we're doing. Maybe it's that we're just not tracking it right.

“Nobody's going to renew if you're not getting results. It's all about ROI.”

5 Steps to More High-Quality Appointments

Securing Appointments Means Being Persistent and Unique

Securing appointments remains a persistent challenge for sales professionals, with over half (57%) indicating that it takes five or more attempts to secure a sales appointment.

Trey says, “It's good that 57% of people know, ‘Hey, I've gotta be persistent, I've gotta keep reaching out.’ Because that is part of the solution of getting more meetings is having more outreaches.

“They need to reach out to a prospect seven to nine times. I'll just simplify it and say, ‘nine times.’ Reach out nine times in two weeks; that's a lot. That's almost every single day, right?

“But you have to have a really good reason for them to meet with you. We call it the ‘valid business reason.’ It's, ‘Why would they want to meet with me? What do I have to offer that has value that's gonna help them?’

Whether it's going to be how to solve a problem, achieve a goal, or meet a need, whatever that is, you have to have a really good hook as to why they would want to meet with you. And then you've got to hammer it nine times in two weeks to get their attention before they respond. So, that's the foundational element of getting more meetings.

“What are the tips to make it more successful, for you to be better at it? My thing is, you've got to be different. You have got to stand out from the crowd. You've got to break through the clutter.

“I get tons of emails, and they're all the same. They're so boring, they're so simple. All I see is emails. Nobody is sending videos, and no one is calling me. Obviously, you can't knock on my door, but if I were a business owner and I had a storefront, I would, old school, go door to door and try and meet with people face to face.

“I would use the phone more than I would use email. I would send letters. I would send something unique.

“You have to be creative to break through the clutter because there are literally thousands of salespeople doing the exact same thing.

Trey’s “One, Two, Three” Email Strategy

Trey shares his "one, two, three email" strategy, which combines humor and urgency to elicit responses from prospects, highlighting the effectiveness of unconventional communication tactics.

“The title of the email is, ‘please respond with a one, two or three...’” Trey says. “By the way, I tested that on subjectline.com, and it scored 100, so yay me. Anyway, the email is:

‘Dear Matt, I've been trying to get in touch with you for the last couple of weeks. We haven't been able to connect. Before I give up, I wanted to give you one last chance to make sure that we didn't miss an opportunity.

‘So, do me a favor and reply with a one, a two, or a three to this email.

  • ‘Number one means: yes, I'm interested, I've just been really busy. Send me some times you're available, and we'll schedule something.
  • ‘Number two means: no, I'm sure you're a great guy, but I'm not interested. Please leave me alone.
  • ‘Or number three: I've fallen, and I can't get up. Please call for help.

“And then I say, ‘let me know which one it is because I'm starting to worry. Thanks, Trey.’

“And I would say that 70% or 80% of the time, I will get a response. Half the time, I get yeses, and half the time, I get no's (or ones and twos), and then occasionally, people will be funny, and they'll put down a number three. Then, one time, someone put down number four. And then they said for me to do something to myself, which is not appropriate for this kind of content.

“Anyways, if I get a two, a three, or a four, I reply, ‘Thanks for letting me know. You'll never hear from me again.’

“What's funny, though, with the three and the fours, every time they've replied, ‘Oh, I was just kidding; I thought you would think this was funny. I actually am interested,’ and I'll end up getting meetings.”


Topics: podcasts media sales report