Blog Post

The Number One Predictor of Sales Success


Matt Beaulieu, our VP of Business Development, discusses effective sales strategies that you can use to immediately improve sales success at your agency.

Also available on YouTube.

Sales Success Transcript:


Table of Contents

  1. Why We Made This Series For Sales Success
  2. To Run Effective Sales Meetings, A Smile Is Not Enough
  3. What Are the Traits of Sales Success?
  4. Pre-Meeting Prep: Preparing For a Sales Meeting
  5. How to Prepare For a Sales Meeting: Day-Of Prep
  6. Sales Steps to Success 10 Minutes Before the Meeting
  7. Keys to Success in Sales: How to Nail Down the Second Call
  8. Ace Your Sales Preparation With a Copy of This Deck

Hi, my name is Matt and I'm Semify's SEO sales tutor. Today, we are going to learn what the number one predictor of sales success is. And we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to immediately improve your selling success so that you can see an increase in your close rate.

First, let's go through our agenda. We're going to talk about why we made this series, why a smile is not enough, and why you need training -- more than just being friendly. We're also going to talk about traits of successful salespeople. We're going to hit pre-meeting sales preparation, day-of-meeting preparing for a sales call, what to do 10 minutes before the meeting, and then how to nail down that second call. We'll also discuss how you get a copy of this deck.

Why We Made This Series For Sales Success

So let's get started. First, why we made this series. It's to help agencies like yours reach their true potential. I can't tell you how many agencies I've talked to over the past 10 years that provide great service. They cared deeply about their customers, but they were unable to achieve sustained success because they were missing a critical component to being a truly great agency.

That component is (you guessed it) a strong sales process. The keys to success in sales can seem elusive. Many people think that you're either a natural salesperson or you're not. And I'm here to tell you that we believe that is just not the case.

We have witnessed countless agencies implement the sales tips that we will share with you today in this series to see instant improvement in their revenue. We also want to give your team the knowledge that you need to avoid needless and costly mistakes we see made every day. Lastly, growing together. At Semify, we're committed to the growth of our white label partners and the entire digital marketing community.

To Run Effective Sales Meetings, A Smile Is Not Enough

Okay. To run effective sales meetings, you need to know that a big smile is not enough. In the conversations we've had with agency owners over the past 12 years, most agencies we interact with tell us that sales is their strength. However, when we dig in a bit or join sales calls, it becomes evident that what they really mean by “sales is my strong point” is “I'm outgoing. I'm a friendly person who's not afraid to strike up conversations.”

That's a great start, but it's just not enough for selling success. Like any other discipline, there are techniques and best practices that can turn your friendly nature into sales meetings that result in close sales for your agency.

For example, let's say you believe you are a great football player because you're built like a linebacker. Is that enough to ensure that you're a great football player? You have the potential to be a great player without learning how to block and tackle and other critical football skills. Your potential would remain just that: potential.

If you don't learn the critical sales skills that this series will teach you, you may find yourself experiencing many of the issues below. I've been in sales meetings where well-intended, friendly salespeople experience late starts. They fumble with their computer and their materials. They run meetings with little or no direction, which results in the “showup and throw up,” which means they just talk and they don't stop. Clients feel confused by that kind of agenda, which results in low close rates. To fix that, we're going to go through step-by-step instructions on how to correct that through effective sales strategies.

What Are the Traits of Sales Success?

All right, before we do that, we're going to talk about what this video promised to discuss: the number one trait, as most important to sales success. The data that we collected from The Sales Acceleration Factor by Mark Roberge (I highly recommended the book) shows that the number one skill is preparation.

As you can see on the chart on the right, there are a number of other very important skills that are related to ticking off the sales steps to success. However, today we're going to confine ourselves to talking about preparation only. But you can see adaptability, it's important. Domain experience, which means industry knowledge, knowledge of SEO, paid search, social media, marketing, etc., your intelligence, your passion. Those are all critical. However, today, we're going to talk about preparation. I will note, if you see at the bottom, closing ability is actually negatively correlated to your ability to close sales, which sounds very confusing. However, if you've done the sales preparation well, the sales tend to close themselves.

People tend to do the “old-style” closes because they simply haven't done the prep and the research. They might not really know how to prepare for a sales meeting. So that's what we're going to help you with today.

Okay. Now the book is very good about outlining all this material. What they won't necessarily tell you is the step-by-step instructions that show you how to go about professionally preparing for a sales call or meeting in our context -- in the context of being a digital marketing agency owner. Alright, let's discuss how to start preparing for a sales meeting.

Pre-Meeting Prep: Preparing For a Sales Meeting

So the first thing we want to make sure we do for effective sales meetings is to have your calendar integration and calendar coordination done. Most email accounts offer calendar integration. And one of the most important things we can teach today is to schedule each and every meeting on your calendar. Don't rely on your memory. That's going to result in missed appointments or joining a meeting late.

I want you to send an email to each client you're meeting with and have those emails contain the following information: the meeting time, their time zone, and a link to join your video call. They will often notify you when they can't make it, which will increase your appointment show rate and save time. That means you won't have to reschedule a meeting later on. If you're using Gmail, which is what we use here at Semify, use that envelope icon to send out meeting information. Other email systems will have a method for you to send out an email, so send that email out every day as part of your effective sales strategies.

Then the next thing I want you to do is to make sure your proposals are ready to go. Does your proposal contain the keyword research, plan selection, and pricing that deliver what the client asks for? I want you to have a plan. If a client has a small budget and asks for a lot of keywords, for example… Sometimes agencies that we've worked with, we'll go into meetings presenting a plan with fewer keywords than the client requested because they have a small budget. This usually results in a bad meeting because a client doesn't feel heard. You're better off providing two or even three options for this client that help them understand why they will need to spend more money. They want to target additional keywords.

Let's hit pre-meeting prep part two: agenda creation. This step is absolutely critical when preparing for a sales meeting or preparing for a sales call. Walking into a sales meeting without an agenda is a serious sales no-no. Let's review why it is so important to create agendas for each and every sales meeting.

Number one, it forces you to think about the purpose of the meeting and what outcome you want. It also helps you keep the meeting on track. Remember the “show up and throw up?” This will avoid that. You can stay right on track and if the client wonders, bring them back to the next agenda item after they've had their say. Buyers will feel like a sensible process has been followed and it guides the meeting to where you want it to go.

And I know what you're thinking. "Hey, I don't have time to make an agenda for each and every meeting. Come on, Matt. That's not realistic."

One thing I want to communicate today is if you’re used to jumping from one sales call to another, I'm going to ask you to make a fundamental change to how you operate. I need you to slow down for the sake of sales success. You are far better off running fewer sales meetings each day that are done correctly than running too many poorly-planned and run meetings. You will see your close rate soar when you run each sales meeting using the tips in this video.

So here are the tips. Fewer meetings, but meetings that are high quality. We just discussed that. Another tip is that I want you to reuse agendas.

It's very likely that you run the same kinds of meetings every day. So you might have, for example, an initial demo. You might have a proposal review meeting. Then, you might have a secondary meeting after that to make the decision. And those proposals will all have common elements. And then you can just slide in things that are unique to that meeting. That's what I want you to do.

I also want you to send out an agenda 24 hours in advance of your meeting. And then ask the client in that email if they would like to add anything to the agenda. And you'll be surprised, they may do that. Or they may even tell you that that agenda does not meet their needs. And if that's the case, it'll give you the opportunity to redo your agenda for selling success.

How to Prepare For a Sales Meeting: Day-Of Prep

All right? So for the day of the meeting, I want you to follow this procedure. I want you to research each client for just five to 10 minutes. I want you to inspect their website, their products and services, their “about us” page to understand their values and people, and their team page. If they don't have a team page, go to their LinkedIn profile. That's why I included that right there. The LinkedIn profile will tell you how many team members they have, which often clues you into how big of customers you're working with. Also, another clue to how big this company is and how big the opportunity is for your agency is the location page. So if they have multiple locations -- two, three, four, or more locations -- this is a big opportunity and you need to plan accordingly.

Additionally, go on Facebook and Twitter. See what they're talking about. What's important to them. What blog posts are they proud of and are sharing? It can be a great conversation starter. And again, consistent meeting prep that'll increase your close rate, it'll shorten your sales cycle and mean less meetings for you.

Sales Steps to Success 10 Minutes Before the Meeting

Now, 10 minutes before the meeting, I would like you to close out all unneeded tabs, or better yet, open a new browser. That is actually preferable. I want you to enter the video meeting before the meeting starts. Check to make sure audio is not muted, and then pull up your client proposal. If you're doing an in-person meeting, which I know is more uncommon now, I’d like you to be politely early, about 10 minutes early, and ask where the meeting will be so you can get set up, maybe in their conference room or an office. I want you to connect to the internet, pull up your proposal and agenda. And I would bring some munchies; it's always a nice touch for sales preparation.

Keys to Success in Sales: How to Nail Down the Second Call

Now I'm going to discuss how to set up your next call for sales success. I recommend taking great notes during your initial or recurrent client meeting. That way, you can create a detailed post-meeting email. You can see to the right that there's a very detailed email that I sent to a client. We've removed the client’s customer name, but you can see the detailed level of notes. And the client was effusive in their praise of this post-meeting email.

I recommend using a literal notebook to take notes. That way, the customer won't hear the typing. It won't be distracting. Even if you're in-person writing notes, they'll appreciate that. I want you to summarize what was discussed. Point by point. Include the next meeting time and date in that email, include items you promised to do, and items they promised to do.

So, for example, if you need to build a proposal for the customer, they probably need to give you the customer URL. They need to give you some competitors who may be in the budget. So that's what they promised to do. Then what you promised to do was make a proposal, perhaps, and get it ready for the next meeting. Now use that post-meeting email to power the agenda for your next meeting. And this is a key point. Very few salespeople take the time to complete this critically important step. If you can do this, you're going to be ahead of 95% of the salespeople out there. Prospect confidence will also soar because they feel heard.

Ace Your Sales Preparation With a Copy of This Deck

Now in terms of resources, you can use this deck to train yourself or your team for sales success. Simply email me, matt@semify.com, and receive a copy of this deck, or just ask me some questions. Additionally, I'm happy to join sales calls to help you close new business. And I would also be remiss not to mention that I would definitely purchase a copy of The Sales Acceleration Factor by Mark Roberge. Thank you so much for joining us today. We greatly appreciate your time. Take care.