Last week I shared with you that I can be dumber than a box of rocks. This week, I’ll share, I’m not an expert in sales. Yes, you heard that right. I’m NOT an expert in selling. I AM an expert in failing!
Most of what you read each week is inspired by my years of selling failures, the lessons I’ve learned and the strategies I teach my coaching clients.
Here’s another inspiring story…meet Sandra.
Sandra, a software sales professional, complained about losing a sale for a good 5 minutes during a recent coaching call. What she said I’ve heard time and again from other coaching clients.
“If I were the CEO, I would have jumped on this proposal right away.”
How many times have you said that when the buyer didn’t buy?
Here’s the truth and what I told Sandra…”It doesn’t matter what you think.”
Many times sale pro’s act shocked when the buyer says no. You may think it’s a good deal or your best deal, but that doesn’t mean the buyer sees it the same way.
When you project your own image of what a “win” looks like on to your prospect, you’re making a serious error assuming the prospect has the same “win” image. Making this kind of assumption will always lead you down the rode of confusing the identity of real Wins.
In this article, you’ll learn results you can offer so the buyer wins. Of course, that means you win too!
In my group benefit days as an account executive, the selling cycle could take over a year. It was a complex sale involving many decision makers, all who had their own self-interest and results agenda. Sometimes it felt like navigating through a minefield, never knowing where to step! It could even turn political.
If you’re in the complex sales arena, you’ll find this article helpful. If you’re not, I encourage you to read on because you’ll pick up at least one idea.
Tip #1 Get Clear About Results for Your Prospects Business Model
Not only do you need a clear understanding of your prospects business model, but you also need a clear understanding of how results generally operate in your business model.
Sandra failed to identify the conflict between her business model and the prospects’. It could have been a fit with certain adjustments, but the conflict was only observed by the prospect. Sandra failed to see it and the prospect failed to mention it.
Here’s how I coached Sandra to gain clarity.
- On a piece of paper make three Result headings: Monetary/User/Specialized
- Under each Result Heading add as many results, your buyer may be looking for in your business. i.e Monetary: ROI, increased productivity, good budget fit, etc. User: versatility, easy to integrate and use, etc. Specialized: reliable, timely implementation, etc.
- Add to this list when you find areas that are exclusive to your business model, industry and/or product.
- The goal is to make a living list of results that match the different buyers in your selling niche market.
Tip #2 Put it to the test
Test your list by asking the following questions: (You know this, but my guess is you’re not doing it)
- Sales Goal setting 101: Are the list of results measurable, tangible and calculable?
- Are the results sharable between the decision makers departments?
- Does your results list affect one or more of the buyers business processes in a helpful way? (Caution-don’t fall into the trap of thinking your product is the best thing since Skittles for all decision makers. When you do, you make the mistake Sandra made.)
Warning: If you answer no to any one of the above questions, your list may be a feature or benefit. You’re looking for a real result. One that can have a real impact on your buyer’s business. This is where Sandra also failed. She thought her deal was golden, but in actuality, she did not uncover the true impact so she lost the sale. She assumed the prospect was looking for an ROI impact without uncovering other results that were also important to the prospect. Keep in mind, your prospect may be looking for more than one result because each decision maker will need a different result.
TIP #3 What results are important to your sales objective?
You’ve identified in Tip#1 what results your buyers are looking for in your business. Now let’s identify a list of results that each decision maker needs with regards to your sales objective. First, to work through this exercise, pick a current prospect.
- On a separate paper, label the paper Win/Results. Then divide the page into three columns: Decision Makers/Results/ Win-Result Influence Language.
- Write down in the far left column all the Decision Makers with the current prospect you’ve selected.
- Next to the decision maker’s name under the Results column, write down one or two important results that this decision maker wants from your product. Repeat this with each decision maker.
- Then under the Win-Result Influence Language ask yourself this question for each decision maker. “How will this Decision Maker win from the results my product or service delivers?” (By asking this question, you’re connecting the dots between each decision maker’s needed department result with your product result and their personal achievement they’ll realize.)
Don’t underestimate the angle of personal achievement and satisfaction the decision makers want. If your product can influence a 13% decrease in departmental errors, you can bet your life savings that particular decision maker will be your ally, because it will certainly make her look good! Each individual decision maker has its own unique angle, which is why this type of exercise will help you close more deals and at the same time make each decision-maker look good by achieving more of its business goals.
Tip #4 How to improve your current position
The next step is to analyze where you need to improve. Looking at each buyer, where are the red flags (if you missed last week’s article you can read it here.) Then assess your strength. Ask yourself these questions to test any missing information.
- What more do I need to know about XYZ decision maker that can help me understand how those results might help him win?
- What are the ABC decision maker’s attitudes, values, and lifestyle clues that help me understand how he might win?
- Am I asking both objective questions and opinions to determine the decision maker’s win?
- If I haven’t met with the decision maker, have I made arrangements for someone on my team to meet her? Am I the right person to meet this particular decision maker?
Remember, any lack of information you’ve identified is a red flag! And it’s perfectly fine to ask each decision maker how they can win with the results your product produces.
Serving the decision maker’s self-interest is the way to win. And in return, it’s the best way to serve your own self-interest to win. Every decision maker comes at it from their self-interest, their agenda, their personal achievement. Connect the dots between the relationship of your proposal and their self-interest. That’s how people buy. They want to know.. “what’s in it for me.” When you develop the art of connecting the dots for each decision maker and understanding how your prospects want to win, then you’ll close more deals.
Does this sound like you?
- Do you have difficulty spotting red flags, gaps and understanding decision makers?
- Do you find yourself glancing around looking for answers because you’re in a sales slump and have no idea how to move forward?
- Do you experience difficulty in finding the right words to use when speaking to a prospect?
- Is your focus a challenge with difficulty completing tasks with weeks of unproductive selling?
The good news is, I can help.
Simply fill out the form below. In the message section, ask to schedule a 30-minute complimentary Introductory call. We can fix this and other pressing issues you need help with!