One of the most common characteristics of successful salespeople = impatience. Show me a patient salesperson & I’ll show you a salesperson with skinny kids! Most want to rush, get as much done as possible & move on to the next deal. Their mantra is more, more, more. Pretty normal.
The great ones are decisive, results-oriented, accountable to themselves, hunt for their next deal & as we have mentioned time & time again comfortable with the word “NO”. All great qualities — including the impatience.
Yep, all great qualities for successful selling. Yet, nowhere on that list does it say, “Tend to take shortcuts”. Shortcuts kill sales. Shortcuts kill salespeople.
Think of that last two or three deals that slipped through the cracks. Good chance that in each case there was information that was missing. Information that you didn’t get — but your competitor did. Information crucial to qualifying an opportunity that you were too rushed & hurried to gather but your competitor wasn’t. Good chance you took a shortcut or two.
When our clients do “post-mortems” on lost deals it’s almost 100% of the time that there is a gap in information that is critical to qualifying the opportunity. Sure, the salesperson will say the prospect did not share the information. Upon deeper inspection, it’s clear the salesperson did not ask for the information. He took a shortcut.
If there is one thing you glean from this blog it’s this — NO SHORTCUTS IN SALES. Your production department doesn’t take shortcuts. Your engineers don’t take shortcuts & by all means, your accounting department does not take shortcuts. So why do salespeople? That’s the $64,000 question. The $64,000 answer = it’s easy to take shortcuts. Really easy.
That doesn’t mean it’s right.
Do yourself a favor & be anal-retentive in your pursuit of the information necessary to qualify the opportunity:
1. The compelling problem (PAIN).
2. The budget (money conversation)
3. The decision maker & decision-making process.
Failure to get any of these items is a killer of deals.
The Compelling Problem (PAIN):
- Ask what is happening/ what’s the problem?
- Ask how long it’s been going on?
- Ask what they have done about it?
- Ask how much it’s costing them?
- Ask what happens if they don’t find a solution?
The Budget (money conversation):
- Ask if there is money to pay for the solution (in the budget)?
- Ask how they planned on paying for a solution?
- Ask where the money will come from (you are allowed)
The decision maker & decision-making process:
- Ask how they make decisions & who is involved?
- Ask who is involved in these kinds of decisions & how their process works?
Answers to these questions help to make sales opportunities qualified — help you get to reality quicker. It’s not easy but at the end of the day (or month, or quarter) it definitely pays off a lot more than the shortcuts you were tempted to take. Be disciplined. Be great. Leave the shortcuts to your competitors.