I was lucky enough to have recently contributed to a new book by my good friend, New York Times best selling author and sales legend, Harvey Mackay. In the book, I was able to share my experience with selling online in a chapter titled, Make The Internet Your Sales Scalpel. Here is an excerpt of that chapter in which I provide answers to a number of questions asked by Harvey:
Some salespeople say: “The Internet is a fine tool for some folks, especially younger ones. Me? I’m of the old school.” Is that realistic: Can anyone in sales these days afford not to sell over the Internet?
It’s possible to sell without the help of the Internet, but it makes the salesperson’s job a lot tougher and less rewarding. The Internet is an “old school” selling adjunct, not a replacement . . . a reliable, low-cost prospecting tool to pre-qualify prospects.
Pre-qualifying prospects the old school, human-to-human way reduces productivity and invites personal rejection. The 21st-century selling pro puts the burden of pre-qualifying on the Internet.
Online pre-qualification tools such as assessments, surveys, and tutorials dramatically reduce customer acquisition costs and practically eliminate personal rejection. Sales professionals should have online pre-qualification systems in place. This screening lets them deal only with educated prospects during their initial human interaction.
You distinguish between prospects and educated prospects. Why is the difference so important?
Educated prospects are more likely to be motivated buyers. Sales pros with online pre-qualification systems are more productive. They close more deals faster, easier and with less rejection.
For the salesperson who feels unsure about using the Internet or modern high-tech methods, how about some tips that would dramatically change both a person’s skill and confidence levels?
Any salesperson, no matter how “tech-phobic,” can quickly and easily utilize the Internet to pre-qualify prospects. The only requirements are a computer, online access and a basic understanding of human persuasion.
Here are three tips to make the Internet a reliable pre-qualification tool.
I call the first the Online “Intake” Survey.
Here’s a simple case where it worked wonders. A chiropractor in Mahwah, New Jersey was struggling to convert initial consultations into long-term patients. His low-conversion rate not only reduced his personal productivity, but it also threatened his confidence. He was having a classic sales problem in building his long-term customer base.
His solution was to create an online survey and made it a prerequisite for initial office consultations. The payoff: His prospect-to-patient conversion quintupled!
The online survey asked for three simple pieces of information:
- A brief recap of the patient’s history with chiropractic care, if any.
- Whether the person was in pain.
- How soon did they want to come in for treatment.
The answers were submitted online and the chiropractor created two different initial consultation presentations tailored around answers to the online survey.
Within a few days after putting his simple “intake” online, the chiropractor’s conversion rate catapulted from a dismal 15% to a remarkable 77%. As a result, his productivity increased and his patient acquisition costs decreased.
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