In my previous book, The Naked Salesman, I explored the damaging effects that crazy customers, that is to say, time wasters, have on businesses by eating your precious time and diverting your attention away from genuine and valuable customers.
Crazy customers can manifest from pushy salespeople who are too persuasive for their own good. Crazy customers can also be created by the right salespeople working by the wrong process or the wrong salespeople working via the right process. Equally, customers seeking free information for their own, often deceiving, purposes. There are crazies everywhere.
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Inexperienced salespeople will impetuously start pounding the cash register as soon as someone calls them, believing that when a potential customer initiates the contact, they are a hot prospect and their intentions must be genuine. This is not always the case.
In fact, there are perils in this belief. In a perfect (of course impossible) world, we would all much rather spend our time pursuing flaming hot in-bound enquiries than to sniffing around and hunting them out.
The internet has been the greatest incubator of crazy customers the world has ever seen. Anyone, whether genuine, ambivalent or even deceptive, can do a quick search in Google or bust open and app and then blast an enquiry – not just to you, but also to most of your competitors. And this is achieved in only a few short minutes. Treat all web enquires with a filtering process and manoeuvre them accordingly. Not all enquiries are created equal: this is where your process comes in.
By developing an effective qualification process that doesn’t alienate potential legitimate customers, you give yourself more chance of identifying the crazies early, which saves you time, resources and money.
Understanding your existing clients will help you work out a new client’s relevance and importance to your business. So when someone contacts you, you are already armed with insights that will enable you to profile them, give you the confidence you are talking with the right person, and then begin your sales conversation.
The insights that come from an analysis of your existing customer base are also critical for outbound lead generation activities, such as the technique I call the Red Phone, as they provide your team with greater clarity and confidence to target more effectively, eliminating crazies expediently along the way.
Trent Leyshan is the founder of BOOM!, Australia’s leading sales training and development specialist. He is the author of OUTLAW: Fight for your customers and sell without fear. This post is an excerpt from Outlaw.