You’ve finally got the meeting with a Big Prospect. You’re sitting in her office. You’ve established rapport. She looks at you expectantly. Now what?
There is a golden rule that governs every sales meeting. You (the salesperson) control the structure while the prospect controls the content. And the platinum rule is you have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.
As the sales consultant, your role is to find out as much as you can about your prospect, their situation, what’s working or not and get a real sense of who they are.
You need to have a plan and structured questioning methodology which leads your prospect into giving you this information – the “content”.
Without a structure to follow, you will spend the allotted time having a nice conversation at the end of which you’ll walk out none the wiser – and likely poorer!
Given this, here is an effective structure you can follow. Use it as a base for whatever you’re selling.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Frame the meeting so that your prospect knows what to expect.
A frame provides a context for the meeting. Roles, expectations and how the time will be spent.
Start with the usual welcome pleasantries. Then say something along the lines of, “As we have an hour together, what I’d like to do is start by telling you a little about me (or our organisation), then I’ll ask about you and we’ll get into why we’re here and discuss your challenges and how we could help solve them. If appropriate I’ll then present a solution and way forward”.
Step 2: Determine your prospect’s situation
Your goal is to find out about the prospect, their situation, what’s working and not working and get a real sense of who they are.
Asking the right questions is key. You want to drill deep. At the end of this part you should know a lot about their business and how it works and all the issues that relate to your area of expertise.
As a guide remember people take action because they want to avoid pain or gain pleasure. Your aim is to uncover which of these exist and if they’re motivated enough to take action.
Here’s an article which details some of the pain drilling questions.
Step 3: What does your prospect really want?
Finding out where your prospect wants to go and why is a critical part of the process. You’re asking them to paint a picture of the future.
“Now that I have a better idea of your situation, I’d like to talk about the results or objectives you’d like to achieve. Ideally, where would you like your business to be in the next 12 – 36 months?” (Or, if an individual), where would you like to be in your life in the next 12 – 36 months?”
The key to this is to “go deep” and to “question into.”
When they give you an answer, “I want to make more money,” find out how much they want to make, why it’s important to them to make more money, what will it mean to their business and their life, what they will do with the money, etc.
Ultimately you “sell your prospect the future.” You do not sell them your services, program or process. They are looking for “what’s in it for me” and that resides in them — an outcome or outcomes that they really want but don’t know how to get.
Step 4: What’s the impact of getting what they want?
Once again you’re looking for an emotional response. How will they feel about achieving the outcomes.
“What would be the best part of achieving those goals?” and “What would that really mean to you?” and “If you achieved that goal what would you do next?”
Step 5: What’s stopping them?
What challenges could stop them getting their outcome? What could slow them down or stand in the way?
Lack of clarity
- Lack of skill
- No strategy or plan
- A non-supportive environment
- Psychological barriers
Remember, your goal is to deepen the pain. You’re not trying to solve their issues at this point. This is a sales call not delivery of a solution.
Step 6: The implications of not handling the challenges
Every action has consequences. And inaction is just an action you haven’t taken – which also has its own set of consequences.
So ask “What will happen if they don’t handle the challenge?” What are the likely results (or lack of) they’ll experience? And ultimately how will that affect them emotionally?
Step 7: Possibilities – Envisioning the future
You want to have them paint their own picture of the future where they have what they want.
“If you could overcome these challenges and achieve the results you want, what would that be like for you?”
This step is one of the most important you can take. Once again, we all buy on emotion and justify with logic. So getting your prospect to FEEL what success is like is critical to the process. Done right you’ll notice physiological changes. The person will look happy.
Only now do you move forward with presenting your services, answering questions, talking about investment and confirming the next steps.
If you and/or your team want to improve your sales skills, call Rashid on 0414 913 334 and we’ll discuss a program to do just that.