Dazzle your sales leads with assignment selling


Content and your sales leads

You no doubt understand the value of great content as a marketing tool, but if you’re like most sales people, you underestimate the value it brings to the sales process.

Inbound marketing attracts buyers You’ve got an information magnet on your website or blog and it’s doing its job attracting visitors and converting some of them to leads. We know that  buyers go online to find solutions to their problems; in fact, 88% of all buyers research online before they buy. It doesn’t matter if your lead comes to you through outbound calling, a referral, or some other channel, chances are very high they will also use the web as they pursue answers.

That simple fact tells us that we’re way too passive about the way content is used. Here we are sitting on a veritable mountain of answers, and we’re just waiting for it to be found. What we need to do is leverage that resource.

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So, what’s the first thing that happens when you engage with your sales lead on a call? They start asking questions. These are questions about solving the problems that your company is in the business of fixing.

Is this conversation the first time you’ve heard these questions – of course not. If we’ve been in sales any length of time, these same types of questions have been asked and answered – over, and over. What you’re not going to do is sit there and answer them in this call.

Qualify your sales leads

As we talked about in our last article about consultative selling,  you need to learn more about their issues and motivations, and your job right now is to ask questions, not answer them.

I’m not suggesting a lengthy discovery session in this first call –  but you ‘ll learn enough about their concerns to determine if there should be a next step. If that next step appears to be warranted, this where you become teacher, guide, and indispensable resource.

You give them some homework.

Your follow up email includes links to the articles, videos, and reports that address their issues. The goal here is not to be dismissive of their questions; it’s to do exactly what was asked of you, which is provide answers to them. What would this kind of email look like? Like this:

Assignment selling to manage your sales leads

This is a simple, but essential, step that results in critically important relationship builders:

  1. You build rapport by being helpful.
  2. You establish your value.
  3. You addressed things they didn’t even know to ask about.
  4. You’ve eliminated concerns.
  5. You’ve showcased your expertise.
  6. You’ve promoted your brand effortlessly.
  7. You stand apart from (and above) your competition.

And,  just as important, by giving them an assignment, you’ve addressed an important qualification step: Is he or she a serious buyer? If the answer’s yes – they’re looking forward to getting the information – your buyer will be:

  1. better prepared for your next meeting.
  2. more engaged in the process

But, if they are unwilling to review the material you provide, they’re not serious about finding a solution now – and you can decide that the next meeting isn’t going to take place, and you can move on to the next lead.

So if you provide the answers – if you’re the teacher they’ve been looking for – they’d be crazy to hire your competition. 

If you don’t yet have a library of online resources, watch for our step-by-step guide in our upcoming article: Building the Foundation for Assignment Selling.

(For further reading on this topic: New York Times online interview with “the Sales Lion”, Marcus Sheridan.)

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