In sales there is no better advice than to get on with it (or get off of it) as soon as possible.
How much time do you spend on opportunities that never pan out? How much time & how many brain cells get toasted spent hoping a deal comes through. How many real opportunities get passed by because of the time, money & emotion you have invested in your pipeline? C’Mon we all know there is no HOPE! Besides, hope a brutal strategy for selling.
You have got to get to reality quickly in this business. Plain & simple. Make it a point to qualify & disqualify with cat-like quickness to stay relevant & be successful in sales. Sometimes it hurts.
Hurts? The very fact that an opportunity is “dis-qualified” rubs many salespeople wrong. “You mean to tell me they don’t want what I have? That’s preposterous! I’ll show them. And what happens? Joe salesperson shows them, that’s what. Proposals, quotes, testimonies, education, trials, demos, literature, blah, blah, blah!
- HUGE WASTE OF TIME (if they are not qualified).
- GIGANTIC MISS-USE OF RESOURCES (if there is no fit)
- INCREDIBLE CASE OF LOOKING BUSY WITHOUT GETTING ANYTHING DONE (if they will never buy from you)
All because one of the simplest concepts in life (let alone sales) is not being followed. GET TO REALITY QUICKLY! How many of you would stalk a guy or gal that clearly was not interested in you? Would you call them every day, camp out on their door-step, refuse to take NO for an answer? Of course not! We have a word for those people – – STALKER!
Why, then, do you feel the need to act the stalker in your business life? I know it hurts. Get over it.
The moment you start getting to reality quickly with your prospects is the moment you begin to take control of your sales opportunities – & it feels great.
- Pay Attention & Be disciplined: In hockey they call it “head on a swivel”. Until you know better it’s OK to play defensively. Lean on history & be honest with yourself. What usually happens when this happens? The last 10 times we did this… that happened… Seriously, if they have an 8-year relationship with their incumbent supplier what are the chances they will switch to you?
- Get comfortable with decisions. NO happens to be a perfectly good one.
- Set strong Ground Rules: Expectations between you & them as to what will happen. This holds true throughout the entire sales cycle. A great rule of thumb: Don’t do anything unless & until you know what’s happening next.
- Ask all of the qualifying questions (to uncover the three qualifiers):
- The Problem (PAIN). Stop pitching features & benefits & start talking in terms of your prospect’s problems. Find out how bad life is without you. Learn what kind of trouble they are in. They hurt – you just need to find out where & how badly
- The Budget or Money Conversation. Ask if there is money available to pay for your solution. If you are replacing an incumbent supplier, ask how much they currently pay. If it’s a new project, ask if there is a target price established. They may not tell you, but you have to ask.
- The Decision making Process (who, who else & how). Ready? Can you tell me how you make decisions like this & who is involved? The decision making piece is a two-parter. Who (& who else) as well as how.
You want to get to reality quickly in sales? That’s how you do it. It isn’t easy. Your production department, your accounting department & your HR staff may think that it’s easy. But if it’s that easy why aren’t they in sales?
How’s that for a reality check?