Iíve changed. Iíve decided life is a metamorphosis. Survival of the Fitness, to succeed you must change. You gotta move with the Ďcheeseí. I have a new mind set in health and in sales. Iíve trimmed up my physique and my process.
I found I was chasing prospects like I was chasing cookies. The bad part is, I always reached the cookies. What I realized in sales as in health, you have to qualify the lead. This could be the client, the employee or the meal!
Before you even begin getting down to business, does this individual meet your needs as an employee? As a client, do they need your services? Will you benefit from this union or consumption?
Iíve been taking a class with Jim Wilson of Selling Strategies. He has helped me to learn that I was taking it all in and then running after nothing! How true! I was taking in every lead, immediately sending out information, and then following up with no success. My problem was that I had stepped too far out of the picture. I receive e-mails requesting information about our company. I mail brochures with business cards but had no contact with the prospect. Or, my assistant receives calls and takes down the prospects information to forward literature to. But not once had I met with the individual, either in person or on the phone. In other words, I had never formed a relationship. I had never qualified the lead. The times that I did speak with a prospective client, I realized I had only discussed basic information. I hadnít taken the time to get to the nitty-gritty, the details, and the "meat" of their needs.
So, I changed. I decided I would attempt to contact every prospect before blindly replying to their message to provide literature. I wouldnít drop off a card or leave behind information unless I had met my contact or spoken via phone at a minimum. I decided to ask my assistant to start requesting prospects to provide their name and number and a good time to reach them so that I may contact them directly.
I developed questions about my service that would help me identify where the prospectís needs were and where they where feeling "pain" that my service could ease. For example, "Share with me where you find your daily operations are lacking?" "Do you feel your production is down because of employee turn-over?" "Can we share with you the benefits of outsourcing your shipping/receiving functions?"
This same strategy should be applied to the employee-candidate during an interview. "Of the jobs you held, which one did you like the best?" "Are you open to working a few temporary positions before deciding the field you desire to work in permanently? "If you could do anything in the world, what would you choose to do?" "How have you changed over the last five years?"
My next step in the qualifying process? Youíve heard it before...Shut up and listen. Listen and write down every "pain" that would come up. I wouldnít talk about my day, my experiences or my company because THEY DONíT CARE. They want to talk about themselves and where they are hurting.
Too many times sales people and recruiters talk too much. We are supposed to talk 30% of the time in a conversation. During that 30% of time our words should be QUESTIONS about our prospect. We are there to find out about them, NOT to talk about US! You will find this to be true when you ask, "Do you have any questions about my product/service?" Their answer is "no" at least 95% of the time.
After pain signals were noted, I would ask them about budget. I wanted to know right there and then if they could afford my services or if I could tailor my services to fit their budget. If the money/desire isnít there, the sale cannot be either.
Prospective clients may be asked, "Have you set aside a budget to accomplish your staffing needs?" "Have you determined the amount of money you can save by utilizing our service?" "What will you allow our firm to pay our temporary associates for assignment with yours?"
Employee candidates may be qualified by asking, "What is your minimum pay rate desired for us to contact you regarding an assignment so we donít waste each others time?" "Are you available if we contact you the morning of an assignment to start that same day?" "What industry would you like to work in on a permanent basis?"
Shut up and listen comes into play again here, unless of course they didnít answer any of my questions. Sometimes you might have to release a cost. If the person has no idea and can come up with no sign of a budget you can give them a ballpark estimate. In this case you will want to remind them again of their pain.
Clients may be reminded that because of high turnover, their production line is down and expenses are up. If your employees were more reliable, more products would be produced by the end of the day to result in more sales dollars.
Employee candidates can be reminded that they temporary work they accept at a number of positions will help them discover what they are truly interested in pursing. Temporary full-time work during college break equals income for later when school begins.
After reminding prospects of their pressures, cost is reviewed. Clients are told that in order to find reliable and qualified employees we need to start their pay rate at $8.00/hour with a 40% mark-up. To fill a position where drug testing and criminal record checks are required, our mark-up will be 50 - 55%. Then say, "Do you think itís fair to say we are in the ballpark at this rate?"
Employees are reminded that in order to be placed in a temporary full-time position during college break you will be looking at $7.00 - $8.00/hr. If you are willing to accept reception work, you could start next week at $6.50/hr.
The budget is the hardest and most important step of the qualifying process. If the person cannot afford your services, it is in your best interest to walk away. There is no reason to chase that cookie if it isnít going to give you a return on your investment. Refer them to another service and thank them for their time.
Those who say yes to the cost, continue to qualify and sell the lead. Employee candidates are being sold on your service. You are selling them on what you can pay them and determining if they will be a reliable employee to benefit your client and you as their service provider. When qualifying the client, you are hopefully speaking to the decision maker. If not, you need to find out who the decision maker is and see if your contact can join you in a meeting with that person.
Simply say, "Do you make the final decision or do you work with a group?" "Would it be safe to say that you would make the decision or should we set up an appointment together with you and that contact?"
Continue to find out as much as you can about your prospect and decision maker while you set the time for your presentation. In many cases by the time you reach the presentation stage, you have already sold the client. By the time you leave, get off the phone, or finish the interview you should decide if this is a qualified lead to pursue the sale or placement.
Next meeting Ė selling the client, and post-selling the client!
Read Meeting 1 - The Sales Club