In previous articles I showed you how to build your product sales process and talked about the differences between hunting and farming. In this article, I want to share what I’d recommend when it comes to achieving the first big step in building an effective product sales process – repeatability.
If your product sales process is going to work, prospects from your target market need to be compelled enough to enter into a conversation with you. It’s your job to figure out how to make this work. You should know your target market audience better than anyone. As such, you need to find out exactly what would encourage them to enter into a conversation with you?
A common mistake I see during this phase is that most think the process is about them – spoiler alert – it isn’t. This process is entirely about providing value to your prospect. In fact, this is why I feel most lead generation services don’t work. Many of them make the process all about you assuming people will respond well to hey you, buy this! I can’t even begin to tell you how many of these messages I get on a daily basis. They are completely tone deaf and are very unlikely to get a response. You need to do better and come up with something innovative to stand out from this crowd.
Throughout this article, I’m also going to assume you don’t have tons of inbound traffic to your website which, if you did, might make this process easier. That way this process should work for everyone from those just starting out to others that may already have some of these advantages. As such, my focus is helping you develop a process that can secure meetings consistently with your prospects.
For us to make your product sales process effective, it must first be repeatable. As such, I’m going to ask that you temper your expectations regarding scaling to the moon just yet. Don’t worry it will all come in good time.
Repeatability is all about achieving consistent results with your product sales process. This is important for several reasons. If you can’t achieve repeatability you really don’t have a process and you can’t delegate it to someone else through training. Missing these pieces will prevent you from scaling because you are unable to consistently measure how the process performs.
What you need to be able to do is to say that if X prospects go through your sales process, Y come out the other end as paying customers. This level of predictability is the first order of business for making your product sales process effective.
Why You Need a Hook
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that you need a compelling reason for a prospect to engage with you. I’m going to refer to this tool as a hook in your product sales process. It’s what will help you stand out from a sea of people vomiting used car sales-like nonsense at people.
A hook can be anything that engages your prospect. Typically it’s something that’s very interesting to them and compels them to connect with you. Some examples of what a hook might look like are asking them to be a guest on your podcast or requesting to interview them for a research paper that you’re publishing. In both of these examples the focus is on you doing something for them.
In order for your hook to work, it needs to offer your prospect value. Through experimentation I learned that the vast majority of people don’t really care what you’re selling. What they want are solutions to their problems and a platform to share their own message. As such, I recommend you provide one for them. I’m going to talk more later about how this will also benefit you and your business.
Finding the Best Hook
When I was developing a hook for StaffGeek and Podcast Chef, I experimented with all kinds of options. I tried speaking to the problem, different creative messaging sequences, offering to quote them on a blog and asking them to be a guest on my podcast. Ultimately, asking them to be a guest on my podcast provided the best results and as such, that’s the hook I decided to move forward with. This hook has continued to produce great results which has led me to develop a podcast for each business.
Running the Experiment
I uncovered that podcasting was the most effective hook by running various experiments. I started by developing different messaging sequences to test the relative strength of each hook. Then I set out to build a list of potential prospects in my target market using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I then built a tracking spreadsheet to measure the results.
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Over the course of a few weeks, I compared the performance of each hook against one another. Measuring the results in this way made it much easier to determine which was performing the best. Eventually I was able to determine whether or not I had a hook that I could leverage to make my product sales process repeatable.
When I was done with my experiment, I was able to measure the consistency and predictability of the results. For every 10 potential prospects that I asked to be a guest on my podcast, I was able to engage anywhere from 3 to 5 of them in an actual conversation. That’s a 30-50% success rate! Those numbers are incredibly high when you consider the typical performance of lead gen services and even ads are typically between 1-3%. As you can imagine, I was pretty happy with the results.
Completing the Process
Now that I had an efficient and effective way of engaging prospects in a conversation, I needed a way to respectfully transition the conversation to speaking about the value proposition for my product at an appropriate time so I could measure their level of interest in our value proposition.
This sounds intimidating, but it turned out to be much easier than I anticipated. What I realized was that speaking with prospects about their problems was a great way to bring up my product’s value proposition naturally and position it as a potential solution because that’s exactly why it was built. The added benefit was that speaking about problems and relevant topics for prospects on my podcast attracts other prospects to the podcast for whom I can also share the benefits of my product. This activity also spills into the category of farming (marketing). As such, I was able to develop a nice complement between sales and marketing as well. I had completed the process of making my product sales both efficient and effective and you can too.
In fact, this experience is what led me to develop my product business Podcast Chef. This is essentially our value proposition. We can provide this value to anyone as a productized service.
Your Free Guide
I realize you may want to conduct a similar experiment yourself and as such, I’ve developed a free guide for you to follow. Included you’ll find a step by step guide on what to do along with a tracking spreadsheet for measuring the success of each hook that you experiment with. This should make it easy for you to determine which hook performs best so that you can easily pick the winner and move forward with scaling your product sales process.
I’d recommend you test at least 3 hooks as part of this process for at least a week before you begin evaluating the results. If you get stuck anywhere in the process, email me at email@example.com and I’ll help you get unstuck. Access your free template at the sign up below.
Identify the hooks you’d like to test. Begin experimenting with offering these to your target market prospects. Measure the results and pick a winner.
Definitely get a copy of the free resources I’ve created for you (sign up link above). Use them to manage the whole process.
If you have any questions about developing effective hooks or measuring the results for your product sales process, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can help.
For those that would like more help, I offer everything from individual product strategy coaching sessions to developing entire product sales roadmaps. Email me and let me know when you need help.