Charlie Sheen made a name for himself a few years ago when he went on TV, radio & social media, whenever he could, shouting the word, WINNING! Everyone remembers it. It got tiring. Almost as tiring as what your prospects & customers do to you. They make you think (& sometimes even say)…WAITING!
This is going to hurt. Someone asked a few days ago, “Why do prospects & customers string us along?” “Why do they keep asking us for more & more information before they make a decision?” ”Why do they make us wait?”
It’s a 3-word answer – because they can. Prospects & customers string salespeople along because they know they hold all the power, it’s been that way for years. Will it ever change? Doubt it. Why would it? It works very well…for them. They get what they want, when they want it. All good…for them.
But, what about us? What about the companies that put countless hours into quotes & proposals? What about engineers that develop beautifully customized solutions that will help the prospect more than they ever dreamed?
What about all of the man-hours that go into developing these solution (sales, engineering, program management, design, etc.)? The economics of selling is maddening. What about all that?
To the prospect or customer “all that” is expected. If you don’t have a beautifully customized solution in 2019 you are not even in the game. If you don’t involve design, engineering & program management in these solutions (these quotes) good luck winning the business. It’s entry level stakes to play.
So, what do we do?
This will hurt even more, and it’s also a 3-word answer. Send better salespeople. Gotta say it.
In our 30-year experience watching salespeople work on deals, more often than not, they are working with some of the information – but not all of it. They understand some of what the customer wants – but not all of it. They know one or two people involved in the deal – but not all of them. They might know some of the competitive landscape – but not all of it. Bottom line is, most of the quotes that go out these days are not “qualified.”
Qualified? What are you talking about? They’re qualified. They buy X… & we sell X. What more do I need? There’s the rub. Just because you sell X & your prospect buys X, does not make them qualified. A lot of companies sell X, why would a prospect buy from you? Because you sold it properly. Why would they pay more for your X than someone else’s? Because they realize the value in your X. That’s professional selling.
It’s in most salespeople’s nature to move fast, take short-cuts & believe everything is “all good”. It rarely is. It requires a discipline to dig deep. It requires a curiosity that causes you to ask questions – questions that no one else is asking (remember, the competitors take short-cuts, too).
A lot of times it takes a salesperson’s ability to be a match-maker. You all know that if “purchasing talked to engineering” life would be easier for you. So why don’t you facilitate that? Yes, there are times when you are told “purchasing & engineering don’t talk – just give us your best price.” And you do. That becomes your system (but it’s really theirs). That’s an easy system to follow. Just don’t go there.
That’s part of the problem. When we have only some of the information, & follow the customers “system” for buying, we end up WAITING!
How’s that working out for you?
Remember: You have rights in sales. Just as many rights as they do.