To start, let’s ask ourselves, “What is an inbound lead?”
An inbound lead is a real person who has an issue that needs solving and has been ‘pulled’ to your company through your messaging and content. This person believes you can help solve their issue.
I think that’s what we really need to focus on. An inbound lead is just somebody who is looking for help. They don’t want to be sold to; they don’t want to jump through hoops to get an answer, and all they want is helpful advice.
Usually a salesperson will be the one who follows up on an inbound lead so this is where you need to be helpful. As a salesperson, being helpful is more powerful than being someone that’s actually trying to sell. Think about it, would you rather buy from someone who gives you insightful advice, are there to answer any questions and actually listen to your issue or someone who’s just trying to sell you their product? The latter may work at times but no relationship is built between the seller and the buyer. It then becomes a transaction and that’s about it.
Being helpful also builds your sales pipeline as you position yourself as an expert in the market. You’re almost a consultant rather than a salesperson and more often than not a buyer will take a consultant’s advice.
So how can you be helpful as a salesperson?
Too many salespeople get caught up with the benefits of the product they are selling and even goes as far as saying the product can do something it can’t. Instead, try and point out the downsides too so that your customer will realize that you are being true to them – not merely pushing a product.
Show your value by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Listen to their problems, understand their needs and then you can be helpful by giving them a solution that works for them and not just you.
Understand your market
To be helpful you first have to have the knowledge yourself. Understand your market and the typical challenges that are faced on a daily basis. Know your product better than anyone else and discover who are the key influencers in your market. By knowing this you will become a trusted expert and perfectly placed to offer helpful advice.
Create a positive dialogue
People like people; not selling machines so show them you’re a real person by starting a valued conversation about how you or somebody else you have helped has been in a similar situation to them. Creating a positive conversation will build a strong relationship and will gain your customer’s trust.
Don’t be too pushy
A good salesperson has the ‘heart of a teacher’ by educating the customer rather than pushing a recommendation upon them. Let the customer come to his or her own conclusions through your education. The majority of them will take up your recommendations anyway.
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