The minute I heard the words, I knew I’d blown it. I hadn’t followed my own system, one I’ve taught to hundreds of business owners, who bymore-people-would-learn-from-their-mistake-if-they-werent-so-busy-denying-them using it consistently close more high value business.

Here’s the back story.

Had a call from a colleague, let’s call him Sam, who wanted to explore how we could help his team improve their emotional intelligence, communication, project management and leadership skills.

Nothing out of the ordinary, and issues I’ve helped many technical organisations solve over the last 30 years.

So where did it go wrong?

I went into “solution mode” which is the natural home for a “consultant”. What we could do to help. How we could structure the session etc.

I then asked about budget. Which is another mistake. Sam had no idea. I was the first person he’d spoken with. So when told a figure, he nearly fell off his chair.

Understand, this is not a reflection on Sam. He had no frame of reference to compare this to. The responsibility was all mine.

So let’s rewind the clock.

Because I’d like to ensure you don’t make similar mistakes, here’s the process I should have followed.

These are the main areas to cover.

Determine the Prospect’s Situation

What they’re trying to accomplish. What problem are they trying to solve. How long it’s been occurring. Get into specifics.

e.g. As highly technical people from different backgrounds, Sam feels there are communication issues within the team and with clients. This is affecting productivity on various levels.

The Prospect’s Desired Outcomes

In Sam’s case, have the team become better communicators and leaders.

The Impact of Achieving these Outcomes

Why is it important to solve this issue? What’s the positive impact going to be?

Sam might respond, “We’d improve our productivity by reducing miscommunication between clients as well as team members in remote locations. We’d understand client requirements and have our clients fully understand exactly what results are possible. Correctly setting expectations means less rework…”

What’s stopping them getting there?

What’s the impact of not achieving your desired outcome?

Sam could have said, “As projects get more complex and we have larger teams, issues compound exponentially. This can mean major blowouts in projects with a potentially major effect on our profits.”

What happens if you get the results you’re looking for?

You want them to visualise a possible future that they would prefer to where they are now. And you’re looking for an emotional response.

Your goal is ensuring they fully “get” the value of what you’re providing.

“Imagine you’ve bought the [product/service] and it’s a year from now. You’re looking back at everything you’ve achieved because of your decision today to move ahead. How does it feel?”

Only now should you present your solution, confirm commitment and their investment.

You can read about this aspect here.

No matter how experienced we are, we all make mistakes.

Don’t wing it. Always use a sales structure and have it written down in front of you. Do this and I guarantee your results will improve.

And believe me, your clients will appreciate your structure.

Finally, if you want to improve your sales ability and consistently close more high value business, call us to discuss our marketing and sales coaching programs.

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