Harking back to the school yard. There’s a girl or guy you like – being bashful, you try every strategy possible to see if they like you back. You try talking to them, possibly teasing them, get your friends to ‘ask’ for you. The step you don’t often take is to ask them outright – you don’t dare walk up and just ask them the simple question ‘I like you, do you like me?’ Fear of rejection, ridicule from peers etc prevented some of us from this bold step.
Fast forward to our time in sales and, often, the same plays out. We have great meetings with prospective clients – we spend ages building credibility and rapport, showing them we like them – yet many sales people let themselves down by not asking whether the prospect would consider being a client. We think it is implied, but don’t ask it outright. As a sales person, when dealing with prospective clients – your CRM must contain the answers to the following questions:
1. Would/could they consider being a client?
Just discuss the elephant in the room. Unfortunately, some prospects will see you every time you call – don’t confuse this with their desire to be a client. You can spend a long time courting prospects who would never consider being a client. Sure, some prospects are still worth courting – however you need to know the lie of the land
2. What’s stopping them from becoming one? What do they need?
What is holding them where they are, or inhibiting them from moving. It could be a supply contract, loyalty, a great relationship manager, fantastic pricing, another decision maker you’re not aware of, timing, workload, not showing enough value. You need to know what you need to do to motivate them to work with you. Some customers regularly tender their business.
3. Can you execute on this/these?
Now knowing the answers to 2, ask yourself are these things you can meet. Can you create a better relationship with them? Can you or should you better their pricing? Can they break the contract – will they?
4. What is your plan?
The answers to 3 should show you what you need to do – the final step is to plan how to execute them and do it.
It is that simple. The above will help you determine which prospects can be moved quickly and which require a slower more considered approach. Which are price sensitive and which are relationship orientated. What is important to them is usually what will move them.
The above should be outlined in your CRM for every prospect. Your sales process will have greater clarity, purpose and success.