Possibly the worst question you can ask a prospect is “Where do you want to go from here?”
You’ve spent time working out what they want, what they need, what their goals are. They’re making buying signals. You know you can help.
So why you don’t tell them!
“Mr Prospect, given everything you’ve told me, I believe you should do X, Y, Z”.
Sadly though, it often doesn’t happen and your prospect walks away into the sunset while you lament.
To be an effective salesperson you must master one attribute above all else.
Before I get to what, here’s a quick recap regarding hardwired Innate Abilities or Talents which each sales person must have in the right combination. Click the links for more…
- Work Ethic: Quality vs. Quantity.
Do you make lots of quick sales vs. long term deals which could take months or even years to complete.
- Tolerance: High vs. Low.
Will you do whatever tasks necessary to get the job done – including stuff you dislike such as cold calling?
- Persuasion: Advisor vs. Pleaser.
Are you a born closer who naturally closes the sale or do you love “consulting” and never get the business?
- Executive Rapport: High vs. Low.
Can you naturally relate to people at the top or prefer dealing with the “common man”?
- Need: Create vs. Established.
Do your customers know they have a problem or do you need to create awareness first?
- Explanation: Obvious vs. Concept
Selling cars or houses is obvious. Selling performance improvement services is not.
So what do you really, really need to get good at? Moving from pleaser to advisor.
While rapport skills, questions, eliciting needs, showing value are all necessary parts of a selling process, it’s your ability to advise and lead your clients that will determine your success.
Now you may be thinking, “I’m not a leader and I find pushing people uncomfortable.” Relax, this is not about being pushy. This is about claiming your rightful position as a specialist in your field, an authority figure and advising the client in their best interest.
Clients come to you to solve issues. It’s your responsibility to recommend solutions you know will work. Anything else is not serving them or you.
Bill specialises in investment property tax accounting.
He mentioned to me that he gets a lot clients who come for initial advice at a discounted rate, spend a couple of hours and he often never sees them again.
In effect Bill’s running a loss leader to entice clients to come to him but then must up-sell them into a longer term engagement to make this profitable. It can be a great strategy if you have a back-end program ready to go.
I asked Bill what he did in this initial meeting. Most of his time is spent in building rapport, finding out what the client’s goals are and giving preliminary advice.
And at the close of the meeting hoping to sell them more of his time he asks them, “Where would you like to go from here?”
Why? Because the prospect doesn’t know where to go from here and a confused prospect will never buy.
A typical client wants to buy a number of investment properties over a number of years. Their main concerns are legally minimising their tax liabilities (yearly, capital growth tax and land tax), while maximising cash-flow and protecting their assets.
They’ve told Bill what they want to achieve. So he needs to lay out a plan of action for his clients which links back to his expertise and locks them in to working with him for the long term.
This is what I suggested.
Bill needs become the trusted advisor in their minds.
Most of his clients buy and hold properties while slowly building up their portfolios.
But life never goes in a straight line. Circumstances change. Clients get married, divorced, retire. Partners die. Tax law changes. Tax returns need to be filed.
Therefore it makes sense to review a client’s circumstances each time a life change takes place – including buying or selling property.
So while Bill wanted to sell his time, I suggested he present packaged services which included reviews, tax returns, investment structures and ad-hoc advice when necessary. He could schedule set reviews to ensure clients were tracking towards their goals.
Now one size doesn’t fit all prospects.
So I’d suggest Bill offer 3 packages people can choose from. Basic, Deluxe and Super-Deluxe. You’ll find most will choose the Deluxe. Some will go for the top end.
This gives his clients something tangible to consider. “Mr Prospect, given everything you’ve told me, I recommend going with our Deluxe package to minimise your tax while maximising your returns.”
Then shut up and let the client think.
If you’ve done your job well, elicited their buying criteria, shown them the value of working with you in ways they can relate to and the investment is in their ball park, they’re likely to go ahead.
Selling is both an art and a science. The art encompasses the attributes above we’ve spoken about the last few weeks.
The science is knowing what to do when. How to effectively elicit a client’s buying criteria, figure out what’s valuable to them, present a solution and recommend a course of action.
So if you’re frustrated with your (or your team’s) lack of results, we can help.
We’ll analyse your entire sales process, determine where improvements can be made and recommend a course of action which will improve your bottom line results. Just one tweak could raise your closing ratio by 32% as it did for one of our clients.
Then we’ll work together to implement the changes.
Interested? Call us on (02) 9499-7958 for a preliminary discussion.