Who’s your biggest sales competitor? It’s not whom you think. It’s the status quo. Doing nothing is the easiest thing for people to do – even if the process or products they’re using now aren’t doing a good job.
Research shows that less than 50% of forecasted deals actually close. Around 30% are lost to a competitor, but 23.6% stall and actually buy nothing or change the way they operate.
Sometimes it truly doesn’t make sense to change. I can live with that. But other times it is foolhardy to stay with what they’re doing — yet they still do.
That’s why your most important job in sales is to help your prospects understand the business and personal value they’ll get when they buy your product or service.
I’ll get to how you can do that in a moment, but first here are some questions you should ask (or ask your sales team) whenever you come across a new opportunity.
- Will we win this deal?
Sales people are often overly optimistic regarding the chances of success. If you’ve ever managed a sales team, you’ll have heard, “I’m sure it’s going to close… soon!” A statement which is repeated over and over again in the hope it’ll come true. Which rarely happens.
So take a ruthless look at the competition. Who else is in the game? Is the organisation predisposed to a competitor and getting you in to just tick legal boxes or validate their decision?
Ask yourself dispassionately if you’re a good fit for what they’re looking for.
- Do you completely understand the pain/gain equation?
The prospect might well tell you what they want – but have you gone to the next level and gained a deep understanding of their pain/gain? What do they really, really want? You need to determine the logical and emotional payoffs – both for the organisation and the individual decision makers.
What will the individuals gain personally? How will choosing you make them look good?
- Are you just another apple in the barrel?
How have you differentiated yourself from the competition? How have you related your product or service to their values? Do you have a Unique Buying Advantage (UBA) that they can relate to and go… “I get it – that’s why we should go with you?”
If you haven’t got a well-crafted UBA, we have a 6 step bullet proof system for creating a unique message for your market that will get your prospects choose you.
- Are you talking to the right decision makers?
I can’t tell you how many times salespeople are fooled by prospects claiming to be the “decision maker”.
I remember a case in my corporate career where we lost of major deal because the salesperson swore blind he was dealing with the “right people”. I had a sense he wasn’t, but by this time it was too late. So the “in the bag deal” went to dust.
Unless you’re dealing with the head honcho – never ever take the decision making chain at face value. You must understand both the formal and informal structures of the organisation and how decisions are “really” made.
This is something we cover in depth with our sales coaching clients. Interested in knowing navigate complex deals and close more? Call us on (02) 9499-7958.
- Do you know the real decision making process?
Is it just one decision maker? What’s his process for making a decision? Is he consultative or autocratic? How has he gone about buying this type of product or service before?
If there’s a committee – is there a first amongst equals, do they recommend a decision to someone higher? What’s the process?
- What’s the urgency?
Is there one? If things are going along, and there’s no imperative to change, why would they?
I’m working with a client now that’s in the enviable position of having the Federal Government mandate his type of solution be used for all food exports out of Australia. So we’re helping him become visible to his potential market and differentiate himself from other providers.
- Have you quantified the logical value they will receive (ROI)?
Have you helped your prospects calculate the ROI over time? Either what they’ll gain or conversely lose by not taking action? Providing a logical reason to buy will help prospects “justify” their emotional decision to buy – to themselves or to others as appropriate.
- Are they emotionally on-board?
Have your prospects bought into your solution emotionally? Will they go to bat for your solution when there is pressure – not to spend money, go with a competitor, or try to reduce the scope?
Whether you’re at the coal face or managing a sales team, it’s up to you to keep asking these questions and not taking answers at face value. Anything else is fooling yourself and wishing upon a star!
Now back to how you to help your prospects understand the business and personal value they’ll get when they buy your product or service.
It all starts with stories of how you’ve helped others like them.
Stories that pique their curiosity enough so they’re interested in learning more.
Well-crafted White Papers draw your prospect in as they read your story about the pain you solve or gain you provide, what your solution is based on, how it works and what results they could expect.
Case studies detailing how others have used your solution to great effect provide proof.
And best of all, your savvy questions can help your prospects determine if it’s really worth going forward and taking action.
Articulating your story is an art. If it’s not your forte, call us and we’ll elicit it from you and put it into a form which will create interest with your prospects – so they contact you for more.
We’ll also back it up with compelling case studies and testimonials which add social proof to your claims.
And finally, we can help you and your sales team become more effective so you close more business.
Call us on (02) 9499-7958 to discuss options.
Rashid & Barbara.