Thursday, February 2, 2012

Five Tips for Understanding Your New Prospects

It can be very difficult to see our business from the customer's perspective. After all, we know our business so well we take so much for granted. Or maybe, you are new to business and are still struggling with some of the common problems.
This past weekend I had an experience that might help you see your customers from their perspective. And once you see your customers from a fresh perspective, your frustrations with challenges can melt away.
This particular challenge is how do your first time callers feel and what might we do better to convert them into a customer?
Here's a recent experience I had that might be a good example for you to get an idea how a prospect might feel. I was at a large horse fair trying to learn more about what feed to use for my horses. (I have only had horses three years and still find feeding them properly is complicated.)
I stopped at a booth that I thought would be the answer. I found myself tongue tied at how to start the conversation. (This is where a good salesperson or representative could have been a great help.) I was so unsure what to ask first that I almost left the booth.
Tip one: some prospects will not try very hard to get information.
The real question in my heart that I could not verbalize was, "How do I find out about horse feeding options and more importantly, is this the right feed for my horses?"
That is when it hit me! So that's how our prospects might feel when they call our studios! They do not know how to say, "how do I select a photographer and are you the right photographer for me?"
So naturally our prospects start with "how much does it cost?" This question right out of the shoot makes most of us cringe. Most of us are unprepared on how to handle this smoothly.
We all know that cost is really irreverent when it is a product we want or need (within reason of course). Look at all the money you spend on your hobby. Answering the question of cost does not have to be the first topic addressed.
Tip two: help your prospect get the information they really need.
I was not going to start the process of learning about horse feed by asking the price first. Not only is that not my mindset, it would not tell me what I really needed to know. Your customers could be the same way.
So I, the introvert, struggled and felt weird until the other man in the booth, the nutritionist, took over the conversation from the untrained salesman who did not know how to interact with new people.
Tip three: learn how to interact with new people especially if they are more introverted and need a little help expressing themselves. Be careful who you put on the phone when new prospects call for information. An untrained person can loose many sales for you.
Once the nutritionist was helping me, things went great. He was friendly, an expert, and only looked at me while he talked. He did not try to get to the next person in the booth until he felt that I was completely done and understood on his product.
Tip four: pay attention to your prospect and listen carefully. You will have plenty of time to make suggestions and influence the sale later.
It made more sense for me to purchase feed in my local area. The nutritionist made sure I knew where to go and what type of feed I needed to get. He gave me his card in case I had any additional questions.
Tip five: be helpful and invite them to continue the conversation later if necessary.
So, next we need to talk about how you specifically apply this experience to your studio. We'll talk about that next week, come join me. Meanwhile, I encourage you to pay closer attention to interactions you have while you shop and see what you can learn.

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