It’s always a happy day when a potential customer comes to you wanting to learn more about your products or services.
The question is: are you prepared to handle sales inquiries when they come your way? Without the proper systems in place, you could miss out on an opportunity to acquire a new customer.
This article will cover everything about how to handle sales inquiries, including receiving them, responding to them, following up with them, and encouraging more of them.
Receiving Sales Inquiries
To get sales inquiries from interested individuals, you must have a system set up to receive them. Here are some things to consider:
- Make It Visible: Your contact information should be noticeable everywhere your business exists online. This includes every page of your website, so add a Contact button in your menu navigation and your contact details in the footer. It also includes your social media pages (so fill out your profile!) and your Google My Business listing.
- Who’s Handling Phone Calls: Are your calls going straight to voicemail? Do you use a live answering service like Ruby.com or to you have a service that will text/email transcription service like grasshopper.com or Nextiva.com?
- Have Options: Some people will want to call you directly; consider using a toll-free number. And although you may have a contact form, some may not feel comfortable filling out the form and would rather send a message to your email address. So, make sure there’s clear information about how to contact your salespeople or you directly.
- Website Inquiries: Do just let people visit your website and leave? Do you offer your web visitors any help? Use Live chat staffed with sales or customer service people or a chatbot service to answer sales questions and provide FAQs!
- Offer Appointment Scheduling: You can also cut down on the number of back-and-forth emails by adding an appointment scheduling app to your website for potential customers to set up a time to meet with you to talk about hiring you.
Responding to Sales Inquiries
So now you have the proper systems to get sales inquiries from potential customers. The next – and most important! – step is to respond to them! Here are some tips for doing that:
- Be Quick: Research on lead response time finds that the first vendor to respond to a lead wins anywhere between 35 to 78 percent of sales. The average lead response time is 47 hours, so the longer you wait, the more likely a competitor has reached out already. Depending on the type of business you have, you may aim to respond within the first 5 minutes to an hour.
- Set a Meeting: In some cases, the sales inquiry might be simple, like if your product or service has a particular feature or is applicable for a specific situation. No matter the inquiry, your goal is to get the person on the phone or in a meeting (in-person or virtual) to continue the conversation.
- Do Your Research: When a meeting time is set, do your research beforehand to learn more about the person or business who has contacted you. You also want to reach out to them to try to clarify their goals, budget, and timeline to get started. You also want to make sure that you know who will be attending the meeting so that you can prepare handouts if it’s in-person. This meeting is the first step of what you hope will be a long-term relationship, so it’s wise to go in prepared.
- It’s About Them, Not You: During the meeting, remember that the entire conversation should be about them, not you. Ask questions about their business, their needs, and their challenges. When you present your product or service, do so in a way that demonstrates how it will help them solve the problems they are facing. Open-ended questions are ideal! Looking for more tips, here are 4 Ways to Transform Your SMB Marketing and Sales Processes.
Following Up on Sales Inquiries
It often takes many follow-ups before a deal is closed. In fact, 80 percent of sales require up to five follow-ups. Meanwhile, 44 percent of sales reps give up after one follow-up. Don’t give up! Follow-up is crucial to winning more customers, and these tips will help.
- Determine the Next Steps: At the end of the meeting, summarize what has been discussed and plan out the next steps. This might mean that they have to talk with a decision-maker, or you may have to create a proposal. You’ll need to do some extra research on their needs to make sure you understand your deliverables and can create an appropriate budget. In addition to outlining the next steps, create an approximate schedule for when they can expert your proposal.
- Ask for the Best Way to Follow Up: When you’ve determined the next steps, ask the lead what the best time and mode is to follow up on the discussion. This could mean scheduling a meeting with the decision maker or their boss or setting a time to have a ‘check–in’ meeting.
- Send a Thank You Email: It is always a good idea to send a thank-you email to the prospect on the same day as your meeting. You may include highlights from the meeting, key action items, and the details about the next follow-up.
- Offer Value: One of the tips for the initial meeting was, “It’s about them, not you.” This applies to every follow-up afterward, too! Every email you send and conversation you have should be so valuable that the client looks forward to hearing from you.
- Make Sure You Have Sales Tools in Place to Close Quickly: You need software for Video Conferencing, Electronic signature, Payment processing, CRM, Scheduling, Inventory Management, etc. Here are 8 sales tools to help boost your small business.
Encouraging More Sales Inquiries
Now that you have a good idea of how to handle sales inquiries – from receiving to responding to following up – you are probably wondering how you can get MORE sales inquiries to come your way. Try out some of these tips:
- Referrals: The best way to get new clients is through the raving reviews of your current clients! And the best way to get these referrals is to simply ask. Research shows that only 11 percent of sales professionals ask for referrals. Set up a system to periodically and regularly ask for referrals, and you are sure to get more sales inquiries from the friends and business associates of your current clients. Click here for more information on Attracting More Customers to Your Small Business
- SEO: If you want more sales inquiries, you’ll have to ensure that your website targets prospective clients. SEO will drive more traffic to your site, so it is a must for every small business owner. One of the best ways to boost your SEO is to start a blog with professionally written SEO-optimized copy. Focus on answering prospects’ questions, and you are sure to get the attention of your ideal clients in search.
- Utilize Social Media: Networking on social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Twitter can be highly effective too. Setting up a professional profile, searching for new connections, joining groups, and attending events are great ways to expand your reach. For tips on getting started with social media selling, check out How to Use Social Media to Convert Sales Part 1 and Part 2
How to Handle Sales Inquiries
There you have it, a complete guide on how to handle sales inquiries. If you give them the right response and your sales inquiry can be converted into a sale. Respond quickly, but make sure that your message has everything the client is looking for. Address their concerns and offer your services as the best alternative to other problems they may hint at. Be as direct as possible in your reply.
These tips will help you increase the number of sales inquiries and the number of new customers that result from them! If you have additional tips on how to handle sales inquiries, share your advice in the comments below.
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