A prospect has agreed to meet with you and indicated they are genuinely interested in your product or service. You arrive at the meeting and spend 40 minutes with the prospect sharing how your product can solve their problems, which they’ve just shared with you. They are very impressed with you and all the features and benefits that you’ve shared…
They’re happy with the delivery timelines, the after-sales service that will be provided and once you send the proposal with the price they’re sure they can get the rest of the committee to agree to move forward.
After all, you are the number one provider of the product and you are definitely on the top of their list and when they buy, you absolutely stand the best chance of getting the business. What do you think the prospect has actually told you? Let’s break the above scenario down.
- They’re impressed with the product’s features and benefits, but they aren’t committing to buy.
- Delivery timelines meet their requirements, but they won’t give you an order.
- After-sales service is a great add-on that pleases them, but that’s not enough for them to give you the cheque.
- You’re on the top of their list when they’re ready to buy, they have to check with the committee, their manager or any number of others and you’re not getting the sale.
- You stand the best chance of getting the business, but not today.
If the prospect says all these great things about you, your company and your product or service, why are they unwilling to take that next step and buy from you? This may be a little harsh and you may not like it – prospects are liars. I know you’re saying, “this isn’t so”, however, put yourself in the shoes of the prospect and ask yourself if you’d do the same thing.
Now as a great salesperson you’re going to tell me that prospects just don’t have all the information they need to make the decision or they aren’t the final decision maker so you can understand why they’d tell a “little white lie”. Also, they don’t want you to know that they can’t make the decision.
We would rather accept one of these “little white lies” than hear the prospect tell us the truth. If the prospect likes our company and our product as much as they’ve indicated, they will eventually buy from us. Count the number of proposals or quotes that you had outstanding in 2010 versus the number that you actually closed. Some of you might be surprised as to the results.
How can we get around these challenges? The following are a few suggestions to solve the problem:
- Start by qualifying better prior to the meeting.
- Dig deeper to find that compelling reason why the prospect would need your product or service.
- Find out how it’s impacting the prospect, their department and their company.
- Have the two of you discovered there is a fit between the prospect’s issues and your solutions?
- Ask some questions about how decisions get made at the company.
- Use a scenario of “let’s pretend we decide it makes sense to do business; how would that happen, are there others involved in the decision, is there money available and where would it come from?”
- Setting an agenda for what you want to accomplish in the time you’ve allocated to meet and most importantly – committing to an outcome at the end of this time.
Planting your feet and setting the ground rules about what is going to happen when you are face-to-face with a prospect will eliminate the opportunity for prospect’s to lie to us. Are you ready to take the challenge and “plant your feet” or are you content hearing the lies your prospects tell you?