Are You Doing What's Best for the Prospect?
OR...are you selling the easiest way for you?
Taking the path of least resistance is soooooo alluring. Especially after the battle scars of prospecting.
Here are questions to consider…
- The phone calls you make on the fly in between sales appointments, are they strategic or a quick “check-in” call?
- What’s the most effective touch point for each prospect?
- Should you make a phone call instead of sending an email?
- Is a face to face conversation more appropriate than another phone conversation?
Touch-points are emails, phone conversations, and face to face conversations. Each touch-point should be planned and executed with a strategy and result in mind. Here's a great article on Hubspot's blog that's worthwhile reading.
Keep in mind...a result doesn't necessarily mean a sale. All too often salespeople are so focused on the sale, other clues are missed which could result in no sale!
See if these scenarios sound familiar.
Scenario #1 Your Late to the Party
How many times have you entered into a sales conversation too late? Your prospect has a problem that needs solving but the prospect has already met with several of your competitors. You're late to the party. And your prospect is too far down the decision-making road to make a detour for you.
Scenario #2 NEI (Not Enough Information)
Can you ever have TMI (too much information)? Probably not when selling. But you can have NEI. This is commonplace when you realize the sale was lost because of another decision maker you didn't know about, who redirected your sale to the competitor. How many times have you discovered more decisions makers after the fact?
Scenario #3 You're listening but not hearing
Amateur salespeople listen for buying cues to begin a sales pitch. Sales Intelligence Professionals (SIP) listen for the gap to problem solve. Amateur salespeople focus on selling their products and services. SIP's focus is on being a better alternative. SIP's approach the prospect by "solving problems with them", instead of "selling products or services to them". If you're only tuned into buying cues instead of problem-solving, you'll miss many opportunities to do what's best for the prospect.
How can you improve and do what's best for the prospect?
First, you need to admit you have a listening problem! I see this with veteran salespeople. They stop listening to the prospect because, in their mind, they know exactly what the prospect needs. They suffer from "I've heard it all before" syndrome or "Been there done that" belief. Is this you?
When you decide you know what's best for the prospect, then you close doors to other results. Closing the sale isn't the only result you should focus on. If it is then you could miss the sale completely. Do what's best for the prospect.
What other results should you focus on?
Ask yourself that question. In order to answer it, you need to know the problem the buyer needs solving
Example #1 Do What's Best for the Prospect
In my group benefit days, I was the lead AE prospecting a large nationwide group. The product and company I represented met the needs of the group perfectly. If I had not asked deeper questions I would have not uncovered an underlying problem that could have derailed the sale. During one of our many meetings, an issue was being talked about indirectly between the two decision makers. It was so subtle I almost missed it. When I asked about the issue, there was a hesitation then the higher level decision maker explained the potential problem if they chose my product. I got the back story, in other words. So the result I pursued was not the sale, but to fix the potential problem! Fixing the potential problem landed the sale.
The result is not always about closing the sale. If you fix the problems or problem solve with the buyer, the sale will close itself. Do what's best for the prospect.
This is only possible when you engage in a different conversation with the buyer. Stop the usual pitch, presentation, or video conference call. I get some of you are required to do a demo or presentation. My suggestion is to learn to weave in a different conversation. One that looks for different results other than the pitch at the end.
Example #2 Do What's Best for the Prospect
During a prospecting phone call, I asked the prospect (who was local) how did they happen to contract with an insurance agency 3000 miles a way to handle their group benefits. This was a concern for me because I had no relationship with the prospects insurance agency. I thought I knew the answer, the prospect had a relationship with the agency, but I was wrong! It was the age-old problem, 'why fix it if it ain't broke." In fact, she did not have a relationship with the agency, and since it wasn't broke, she saw no need to go through the pain of finding a local insurance agency. In her mind, it was too much trouble to bother with it. Probing further I found out she had no idea how to go about it. Helping her through the problem, she found a local agency that serviced her employees more efficiently while also saving everyone time and money.
These are just a few examples, and I could list 50 more! Do what's best for the prospect. Stop focusing on selling and start focusing on solving problems.
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