How to Bridge the Realty from Prospect to Client.
Mark Cuban was once asked, What is the secret to success in business and he passionately answered..
“Sales Cures All.”
He’s 100% right.
Businesses cannot survive without sales.
More sales means more revenue for your business, whether you’re a business owner or working as a sales rep.
Where is your focus in selling?
You may think,
“that’s a silly question Christine, I’m a sales rep. of course I’m focused on closing the sale. Who isn’t?”
That’s not the prospects goal. In fact, the prospect’s goal is not to be closed at all.
Sales reps often make 5 mistakes because the sales rep’s focus is different from the prospect.
I’m suggesting you learn .
How to Bridge the Realty from Prospect to Client.
Here are 5 Mistakes Not to Make
Mistake #1 Don’t Compete on Price. Instead Compete to Solve the Prospect’s Problem.
When you bridge from price to solve the prospect’s problem in a way that’s unique, the competition looks average. You stand out!
Now you’re giving the prospect a new vision of how he can work with you successfully.
Now you’re starting to bridge the reality from prospect to client in the prospects mind by offering solutions that are far different from the competition. It no longer comes down to price but about the value you bring to the table.
Mistake #2 Don’t Forget What It’s Like to Think Like a Buyer
You’re a buyer too. Think back to a situation you were buying and how you sized up the sales person.
A good friend recently told me, she’s car shopping. As she told her story, she became a little embarrassed because of her decision NOT to buy from a particular car salesman. And it was based on the man’s appearance. She confessed it was a shallow reason, but her standards in purchasing a $60,000 luxury car was not met when the sales person had a few teeth missing and a crumpled appearance. She walked away from the car she loved to another dealership where her standards were met by the sales person who looked to be wearing a $6000 suit, well groomed and articulate.
We all make these judgements. Right or wrong. Did the sales person who had the crumpled appearance have anything to do with the performance of the car my friend wanted to purchase. NO! But he did not match her standards and expectations of a salesman selling a $60,000 product.
Your prospects are making the same value judgements when you slide in late, or ill prepared, or show up with mustard on your shirt.
Appearance and first impressions matter.
When you feel you don’t look your best, you will not perform your best.
Strive to look your best so you can be your best to bridge the reality from prospect to client.
I make it a habit to keep a change of clothes in my car. Why go through that trouble? I keep spilling coffee on my blouse! That fresh blouse I keep in my car allows me to change quickly!
Tip #3 Don’t make the mistake of being a friend. Know Your Place.
I get this is counter to what most sales leaders say. I do agree you must foster a relationship but developing a good, solid business relationship can takes months if not years.
Sales rep make the mistake in trying to be ‘a friend’ first. You run the risk of not being taken seriously when you try to form a friendship first,
Most of your family and friends see you as a son or daughter first and your profession second.
Your friends see you as their good buddy first and your profession second.
If you start with friendship first with the prospect, you’ll be seen as a friend first and as a sales rep with XYZ company second. BEWARE.
To bridge the prospect’s reality to client, be friendly but ALWAYS act professionally.
If you’re a friend first, and the prospect uses profanity…what are the chances you’ll feel it’s acceptable to use profanity too?
When I say this, I’m sure I’ll be seen as a fuddy duddy …but there is no place for profanity. It’s a very poor way to try to bridge the reality for the prospect to a client. And in this social selling world of hustle and the common use of the “f bomb” you can become easily seduced in doing the same.
I observed this once while coaching a sales rep. It was an interaction between a sales rep and a prospect. The sales rep had a difficult time setting boundaries.
Here’s what happened.
The sales rep had been courting a prospect for several months. I went with him to close the deal. Many times I cautioned him that he was straddling the fence of being a professional and being a buddy with the prospect.
At the meeting, the prospect began cussing like a sailor, and to my shock, so did the sales rep. (This is not what I meant about mirroring the prospect!)
The prospect became chilly after the sales rep let another F bomb fall. And the prospect blurted out…”I think we’re done here. I can’t introduce you to my staff if you’re going to talk like this.”
The sales rep was shocked. I wasn’t. He made the fatal mistake of not knowing his place.
Know your place. Be friendly but ALWAYS act professional. If the prospect cusses like a sailor, that doesn’t mean he’s ok with your foul mouth.
Strive to develop rapport to bridge the reality from prospect to a client instead of going for the friendship first. Let the business relationship naturally unfold over time.
Mistake #4 It’s Not What You Want to Sell. It’s About What the Prospect Wants to Buy.
When you talk about what you want to sell, and product dump all over the prospect, you’ve already failed.
Derek Halpern tells the story like this…
Over a century ago a man by the name of Robert Collier wrote a book called The Book of Etiquette. As he tells the story, his book collected dust on the shelves of some stock room because no one was interested.
A guy by the name of Nelson Doubleday found the book and brought it to life by doing just one thing in order to sell the book.
Instead of enticing people to read a “Book of Etiquette” he instead told a story with a headline that read:
“Why I cried after the ceremony”
“Why they all laughed at me”
“Why she blushed with shame.”
People couldn’t buy the book fast enough!
What changed in the buyers mind?
Just like people don’t wake up excited to buy insurance, or a software program or medical equipment, no one wakes up and thinks “Gee, I need some more etiquette!”. BUT everyone wants to avoid embarrassment.
Nelson Doubleday illustrated how the “The Book of Etiquette” accomplished just that.
And it became a huge success.
That’s the secret. Stop selling what you want to sell and instead bridge the reality from prospect to client by selling what the prospect wants.
How do you do this? You’re not selling insurance, you’re selling peace of mind. You’re not selling home inspections, you’re selling a healthy home environment.
Next…ask strategic questions at strategic times. And that leads to mistake #5.
Mistake #5 Don’t interrogate.
Don’t interrogate the prospect unless your selling health insurance and you’re required to ask the 20 health questions on the application to prequalify the prospect!
Interrogation looks like a rapid fire of questions one after another.
Instead, during the sales conversation ask questions strategically as the conversation naturally unfolds.
Instead of listing all the benefits, ask a strategic question that can lead to a benefit discussion.
Prepare strategic questions for each benefit of your product. Have the list of questions with you during the sales conversation so you can easily and discreetly refer to your questions.
Fold the questions into the conversation and you can also use the questions to reframe an objection.
Let’s say the prospect says
“if we change vendors now, it will be too disruptive to the office staff. We’re undergoing a system update right now,”
“I hear what you’re saying. Let me ask you a question, how long do you think it will take to implement our product?”
“I don’t know…maybe a month or two.”
“Well, I can understand why you’re concerned. The beauty of our company is we have an implementation team that can handle everything for you. And from start to finish it will take less than 2 weeks. Here’s how simple it will be….(then you explain the process.)
Bridge the reality from prospect to client by avoiding these 5 mistakes.
Here’s another tweet… Stop selling what you want to sell, and give the prospect what they want to buy.
Tell me your thoughts about this article in the comment section below…let’s talk about it!