In my conversations of late, the importance of the sales conversation becomes more and more apparent. So often we forget what our purpose is. It starts with our purpose as a person, works its way through our purpose as a business person, and ends up in what is our purpose for this conversation, email, or whatever. We often get lost in that journey and end up focusing on the less important and/or irrelevant; the “what” or the “how”. If the question is “What do you do for a living?” then what is our purpose in answering? Are we trying to sell something, make a connection, find common ground, or are we seeking a way to help the questioner? Keeping our eye on our purpose, or the “why”, can completely change our perspective and the tenor of the interaction. I’m back on my “why” jag, so that means another visit to http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html.
So many times, we get stuck during a sale. The “stuck” comes from the prospect not moving forward, not answering phone calls or emails. Or it may be that they are just not making a decision; more information, more questions, another meeting or call. Our response to this is more information, more meetings, more calls. We sweeten the deal with more features or services. We drop the price. We tie ourselves into pretzels to close the deal. We use our best “overcoming objections” techniques and overwhelm with superior firepower.
However, often when you reach this state of “stuck-in-the-sale” what’s needed is to revisit why they sought you out in the first place. Why were they in the market for your product or service? What was it that they were trying to accomplish? What was their purpose?
A client recently related a story to me about a prospect of his. The prospect had worked their way through what is a very long and rigorous process for buying a business. They had passed all the qualifiers and the deal was ready to close. But out of the
blue, the prospect pulls the plug. Backing out. Changed the mind. It’s a no-go. But Bill, savvy and wizened old sales guy that he is, met with the prospect and revisited the prospect’s motivation for wanting to buy a business in the first place. They talked about his goals and what he hoped to accomplish through business ownership. The conversation reminded the prospect of their vision and renewed their enthusiasm. Their fears were overcome by their dream, the “why” behind the sale.
Determining the customer’s “why” in the beginning provides you with the information you need to keep them focused on their true intension and needs. You truly become a consultant/advisor and establish a completely different relationship. Revisiting the customer’s original “why” helps you to provide the best solution you can while creating a more lasting relationship built on trust. This level of trust is the first, and most important, step in the referral process. But that’s a whole other conversation.
Are you stuck right now with a client or prospect? What can you do to get unstuck?