Do some of your prospects procrastinate? They say they want to sign up, but something always seems to come in the way?
If so, this is likely to be happening.
They’re not convinced of your solution because you haven’t got to the emotional core of what the solution will give them, covered off all the objections (spoken or unspoken)
Or you haven’t taken a leadership position, told them what the next step was and got commitment right then and there for them to take it.
Early in my corporate sales career I frustrated the heck out of many of my prospects.
We’d have meeting after meeting. I’d find out all about them, what their issues were. Where they wanted to get to. Even how our solution would help.
But I never segued from a “general” conversation into presenting the solution and gaining commitment.
So I’d get comments like, “Rashid, we’ve met a number of times. Where do we go from here?”
I’d reply with, “Where would you like to go?”
“Well, you tell me!”, they’d reply.
Having worked with hundreds of business owners over the last 17 years, I can tell you this is a very common scenario.
Most professionals (Financial Planners, Accountants, Lawyers etc.) feel uncomfortable “selling”.
So they sit in initial meetings, ask questions, often give advice, but don’t have an effective way of seguing into presenting their services and getting commitment to get paid.
So if you’re good at delving into their issues but have trouble moving into presenting your services, this structure will fix that.
But first, let’s cover the most essential component. Your mindset!
Your intent must be to find out if you can help them!
And if so, recommend a course of action
Make them a client!
To do this you must control the agenda.
Start by framing the meeting this way.
“In our time together I’d like to accomplish 3 things…
Find out more about you, your current circumstances, what you’d like to achieve and the challenges in your way.
Then I’ll tell you a little about myself
And finally, I’ll discuss how our services could help you.”
Doing this sets up the expectation in your prospect’s mind that you will present a solution at the end.
Now all you have to do is follow these steps. Presenting a solution just becomes part of the natural flow.
This is the overall structure of the process and the order of events.
- The Prospect’s Situation
- The Prospect’s Desired Outcomes
- Impact of Achieving Their Outcomes
- Challenges in the Way of Achieving Outcomes
- Implications of Challenges Sabotaging Outcomes
- Possibilities of Overcoming Challenges
- Actions you are willing to take to achieve your goals
- Future Pace
- About You
- Presenting Your Services
- Confirming Commitment
- Program Overview and Price
In this article I’ll start with steps one to three – finding out more about them and what they want and the impact of getting it. We’ll cover the rest in subsequent articles as well as a crucial final step most people miss.
You’ve made your opening statement as above.
Now my standard question is, “Why are you here?”
Every prospect has their own unique reasons for being there and results they want. Your job is to elicit them through the judicious use of questions.
Don’t assume anything about them or their situation. Have an attitude of curiosity, not judgement.
Your mindset must be like a Doctor’s. First you diagnose… Then you prescribe!
Remember the golden rule of all purchasing decisions.
We buy on emotion and justify our actions with logic.
Therefore your job is to find out what’s important to them on an EMOTIONAL level…
Then show them how you can help them achieve whatever it is!
So when they tell you what they want, don’t stop at the surface answer.
Dig deeper. Why this is important to them? How will achieving their outcomes impact their lives?
Examine it from different angles. You’re looking for an emotional payoff they’ll get when they achieve what they want.
How will you know you’ve got there? They’ll use “feeling” and “emotive” words.
WRITE THEM DOWN!
Your job is to dig into the challenges they’re experiencing. Why can’t they do this themselves? Is it a lack of information? Resources? Time? Maybe they can do it, but want to outsource it instead?
To put it bluntly, are they in real pain?
Do they really, really want to solve the problem? Or are they just on a fishing expedition and wasting your time.
Let me digress for a moment on the topic of pleasure and pain.
As a motivator for action, pain is orders of magnitude more effective than pleasure.
We will move far faster and further to avoid pain.
Note however that pleasure or aspiration is all fine and dandy, but if the pain involved to get there (read effort) is greater than the imagined payoff, people will do nothing.
Or they will start enthusiastically and end with a whimper at the first sign of pain.
So your job is to find the pain (of not getting their outcome) and crank it up!
I met a gentleman who sells vehicle tracking systems the other day.
Here’s an imagined conversation he could have with a prospect.
“You’ve told me that some drivers goof off and you feel they waste time, petrol and money by not being where they should be. What’s this costing you? In time, money, frustration, irate clients?”
Quick tip: Try and get quantifiable answers. It’s costing $X a day which totals $Y per year. One good client leaving costs, $Z dollars etc.
“So what would fixing this mean to you and your bottom line?”
Remember to look for an emotional payoff. How will they feel once the problem is solved? i.e. What’s in it for them personally!
But what could come in the way?
In his case there could be a driver revolt. They might try and disable the equipment. So what’s he willing to do to overcome this? How important is the solution to him really?
Now comes one of the most important, but neglected parts of the process.
The future pace.
“Pretend it’s X years in the future. You’ve achieved .
Tell me the major highlights that have occurred and how you feel. Looking back are you happy with the decision you made today to work together with me?”
“It’s 2 years from now. You’ve installed the GPS tracking system in all your trucks. You now know exactly where each is. Productivity has increased by 27%, fuel costs have come down by 18% and client satisfaction rating is at an all time high. How do you feel?”
Believe me when I say this one simple exercise can create a profound emotional shift in your prospect. It’s akin to a sports person visualising winning the race.
Only then should you move towards closing the sale and gaining commitment to move forward.
We’ll cover that structure and how to handle any objections that might come up in future episodes.
In the meantime, if you’re not closing business with prospects who you feel could use your services, call us for some specialised sales coaching. Small tweaks in your process could make a major difference in your results.