Virtual Meet Up: How to Win New Business

If you’re a true fan you may well know that ESP hold a virtual meet up fortnightly. These sessions are a platform for sales leaders to share experiences and struggles, build connections with one another and take something away to help their sales teams. Last week’s event focused on winning new business in this current climate. As usual, this was hosted by our MD and Founder, Paul Thomson, joined by Calum Kilgour and John Bissett from Slingshot Edge. 

So, what is the hardest part of winning new business? We’ve broken down the three main areas that stood out as the main challenges that sales leaders are facing at the moment. 

Building Rapport With New Prospects That You Can No Longer Meet 

A shared challenge amongst the sales leaders was the difficulty in building a relationship with people you cannot physically meet. Typically, relationship and rapport building would come with the corridor conversations, meeting up for a coffee or taking people out to lunch – clients often don’t choose a seller based on what they see in black and white. 

One of the attendees’ organisation has put together a virtual tour of the building which allows the customer to walk through the business while giving the seller the opportunity to probe them into areas of interest. 

What are some methods to build rapport and empathy with new prospects? 

Listening – this is sales 101 but not everyone does it well. A lot of the time on a sales call, the seller will be thinking of their next question.  

Mirroring repeating the 2 or 3 words of what the customer has said when explaining their situation can help in making them feel listened to and expand their point. 

Labelling – try and label the customer’s situation by summarising what they said. Again, this will help them to feel heard and reassured that the seller understands their situation. 

A way that others have been successful in winning new business is through being clear and honest. Getting to that stage can be done by getting into the mind of the buyer and assessing what has changed for them. This could mean a complete rework and revalidation of your ‘ideal customer’. Who would be a good fit for this product right now? Have their priorities changed? What is the right narrative that is going to connect to this customer? 

Getting Through to the Actual Decision Maker 

Another common challenge is the brush off from customers who try to reassure the buyer that they are the only decision maker. In most sales processes and subsequent decisions, there’s a stronghold of stakeholders to get through. Therefore, it does seem unrealistic that  

Without the chance to meet people in an office environment, it’s trickier to be introduced to other people and gauge who is in the decision-making unit. 

One of our attendees shared their experience of expecting a deal to close then being side tackled by another part of the organisation coming along leaving the result uncertain. It’s very difficult to understand what’s going on with the customer and zoom can be challenging when there’s a gatekeeper that is channelling all communication through themselves. 

On the contrary to that, another attendee expressed that if the seller is getting stuck behind gatekeepers, the battle is probably lost already unless something drastic changes. This is a massive red flag – if they want to initiate change, they why aren’t they bringing the appropriate people into the conversation? While it could be disheartening, it does give the seller the opportunity to qualify out early or take a different tactic. A way of doing so could be to align your objectives with their objectives whilst making it clear that you’re not going to waste your time. This is backed up by Calum and John who advise disassociating yourself with the outcome. 

Cutting Through the Noise 

Social media, particularly LinkedIn, is inundated with vapid content. Getting the right content out that will encourage interactions with prospects has become increasingly difficult.        

This has always been a problem; the attendees are asked to consider if the content they’re creating is really tapping into the emotional mindset of the buyer. Consider what is happening in the world right now and how this could be affecting the buyer – what struggles are they face and is the narrative that is being put out supporting that?  

One attendee mentioned that their team has moved completely away from traditional way of selling in order to generate fantastic engagement Their method involves sparking debate with controversial comments or opinions and asking prospects or existing customers what they think of such and such – this is an effective way of standing out in the crowd. 

During last week’s meet up what stood out as the main challenge facing sales leaders was getting that first meeting with a prospect. This will be explored more in next week’s session as we hope to delve into what works with traditional sales tactics and new inbound marketing strategies. If you’re facing a similar challenge and struggling to get that initial connection with prospects – register your interest today! 

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