Accessing the benefits of customer engagement prospecting techniques
Sales is a tough world, highly prone to individual, local, national and international economic influences. When economies and earnings head south, old sales prospecting techniques rarely work. However, there is one focus that will help your sales team and your business come through a downturn and increase its strength. And in the good times, this same focus will ignite sales and increase revenues. This focus is customer engagement.
In this article, I’ll discuss the sales prospecting techniques to use to aid customer engagement and increase sales.
Why you should be excited about customer engagement
The best sales are made to existing customers. They should be easier to sell to, and should be more amenable to placing larger orders. Your competitors will do all they can to get their hands on this business, so it’s important that your salespeople are continually prospecting your current customers. Here are five ways in which customer engagement influences sales:
1. Engaged customers are informed customers
They know your brand offers the solution they need. The more you engage with a customer, the more trust you build, and the more trust you build the more likely they are to buy from you.
2. Engaged customers are aware of your brand
It has been said that a customer needs to see an advertisement seven times before considering a purchase. Whether this is true or not, every time you put your name and brand in front of your customer you go to the front of their thinking. Engagement increases brand awareness. This recognition of brand trickles down when it comes to contract renewals or buying additional products.
3. Engaged customers give clues as to their needs
Every time a customer engages with a salesperson direct or a company through a social media contact, answers a survey, or attends a Q&A seminar, they provide clues as to what their needs and goals are. This information should be used to determine product requirements, purchasing preferences, and sales opportunities.
4. Engaged customers place larger orders
Research about customer engagement provides evidence that engaged customers spend more. Making a purchase is an increasingly emotional act, and customers will buy from whom they trust. Gallup found that a fully engaged customer spends an average 23% more than an average customer, while a disengaged customer spends 13% less.
5. Engaged customers become brand advocates
When customers trust you and your brand, they will be happy to refer to others, and act as advocates for your products and services. They may engage with discussions on social media, reply positively to questions about products, and encourage new customers to meet with you.
How can you engage your customers to increase sales?
Gallup’s study, which I mentioned above, defines customers as either fully engaged, indifferent, or actively disengaged. They define these levels of engagement as follows:
- FULLY ENGAGED customers are emotionally attached and rationally loyal. They'll go out of their way to locate a favored product or service, and they won't accept substitutes. True brand ambassadors, they are a company's most valuable and profitable customers.
- INDIFFERENT customers are emotionally and rationally neutral. They have a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude toward a company's product or service.
- ACTIVELY DISENGAGED customers are emotionally detached from a company and its products or services. They will readily switch brands. If switching is difficult or impossible, they may become virulently antagonistic toward the company. Either way, they are always eager to tell others exactly how they feel.
Here are seven sales prospecting and engagement techniques your sales team should be using to increase customer engagement toward the fully engaged level:
- Improve awareness by improving communication – customer visits, emails, newsletters, and providing updates about product upgrades, add-ons, and current (and future) offers.
- Engage customers by all communication channels possible, including online and social media. Ask them what they want, and how you can improve your product and service.
- Be consistent in your engagement communication strategy. A customer will soon smell the whiff of desperation if they only hear from you when it is time to renew a contract.
- Ensure that your customer support channels are easy to access and use, and coach your support team in products and sales techniques.
- When researching the customer, use all data possible and available. This includes data captured from previous communications. You can then shape your approach to match customer needs and goals.
- Focus your engagement efforts on customers who advocate for you, spreading your brand name and news about products and services.
Make sure your salespeople are engaging and employ great sales prospecting techniques by:
- Building trust by focusing on the customer and their needs, not on the sale.
- Asking the right questions.
- Being proactive in suggesting solutions to identified problems and concerns.
- Being responsive to current and potential challenges that may be problematic for the customer (e.g. new laws or regulations), and offer solutions to these challenges.
- Being credible, reliable and trusted as a source of information, as well as providing real solutions to problems and needs.
Engaged customers are more satisfied customers. They are easier to retain, easier to sell to, and are more likely to be brand advocates. The key to increasing revenues and building market shares in sales is to engage your customers and build long-term relationships.
Contact us today, and discover how we could help your sales team to manage themselves, their prospects, and ignite sales.