This blog follows the one that I just posted and had to be written ASAP because my brady bunch sales reps were after my life to get their questions answered !!
Had to do this to get my neck off the hook or they would have chewed me alive!!
so here goes…
In every complex sales opportunity there are points where even a seasoned sales professional asks: “What do I do next?” Even I ask this of myself today after 20 years in the business…..
And that question leads to yet other questions? Do I pitch to another stakeholder? Do I wait until I hear back? Do I send a reminder email? Do I send more information?
These are the wrong questions to ask. Every deal has a natural order of events, but that order differs according to the individual customer. To understand what to do next, you must assess what’s supposed to happen — at the customer end — and understand what you’ve done, and still can do, in order to influence those events.( Developing consumer insights is key to a successful sales strategy !!)
With that in mind, here are six key questions that, when answered, tell you exactly where you should be putting your selling energy:
- QUESTION #1 of 6. What do I understand about the customer’s buying process? You can’t possibly know what to do next if you don’t know what’s supposed to happen next. For example, if the customer’s buying process requires that you meet with the CFO to get initial buy-in, you are wasting time if you’re negotiating installation dates.
- QUESTION #2. How have my selling activities helped the customer commit to taking action? If the customer is driving the buying process — and you’re just there to take the order — it really doesn’t matter what you do. However, if you’re driving the sale forward, you need to identify (and leverage) what you’ve done to help it forward.
- QUESTION #3. What actions has the customer already committed to? A big commitment (i.e. to buy) is always preceded by a dozen smaller commitments. What had the customer already said or done that lets you know the customer is serious? Which of those commitments are leading towards an eventual purchasing decision.
- QUESTION #4. What actions has the customer not yet committed to? What still needs to happen in the customers decision-making process before a final decision can be made? Is there a key meeting that needs to take place? Are there pending decision about budget priorities? Are there business issues to be resolved before buying?
- QUESTION #5. What can I do now that might help the customer make the next commitment? You assessed where you are in the customer’s buying process, how you helped them get there, and what commitments still need to be made. Now figure out what you must do to help the customer commit to the next step.
- QUESTION #6. What am I prepared to do if the customer refuses to commit? If there’s a pending commitment that’s reasonable and appropriate, given previous commitments, but the customer won’t commit, you need a backup plan. You’ve invested your time; don’t let the deal to be needlessly scuttled because you won’t walk the extra mile.
Hope that these tips help you folks plan your next selling move !!
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Apologies for the long hiatus…been busy with my travels and tours and enjoying the monsoons hit the sub-continent!
Been thinking about writing on this subject for some time and was waiting for the right impetus to do so…this impetus came to me recently when one of my key account managers came upto me and asked me…”you have written and spoken extensively about qualifying sales leads,….BUT what about pre-qualifying sales leads??”
That was it and here I am …
(Please read my other blog on the subject- https://ashishtandon.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/steps-to-qualify-your-sales-leads/)
So now you got a long list of prospects? Don’t know where to start?
Your challenge is to focus your time and energy on the prospects who are the most likely to buy. And that means pre-qualifying your sales leads….before you call them.
and here I believe is what you need to do..
- Step One: Visualize Your Target. Ask yourself the following questions: What is the specific benefit or improvement of my customers’ lives that will occur as the result of them using my product? How will they feel differently because they are using it? Who is most likely to experience these positive feelings? What is their income, position, experience and level of authority? Your goal for this step is to determine your ideal customer.LIVE A DAY OF YOU TARGET CUSTOMER !!
- Step Two: Identify Your Strengths. Ask yourself the following questions: What is that we do better than any other company? Why should our ideal customer buy from us rather than the competition? If our competitors were asked (and answered honestly) what would they say that our company does better than anyone else? Your goal for this step is to determine what’s unique about your company’s offer, so that you can match those characteristics more closely to the expectations of potential customers.DEFINE AND UNDERSTAND YOUR USP!! and repeat that USP over and over and over again…
- Step Three: Match Strengths and Targets. Ask yourself the following question: who, specifically, are the customers who would value and appreciate what our offering does better than our competitor’s offering? Your goal for this step is to determine specific type of customer which is the best match for your offering. This is a process of elimination, not inclusion! You want to pick your shots, so think like a sniper rather than a machine gunner.LOOK AT THE LOWEST HANGING FRUIT BY APPLYING YOUR OFFER TO THEIR IMMEDIATE NEED !! its that simple….
- Step Four: Concentrate your Sales Efforts. Focus on those few customers who can benefit the most from your company’s offering. Your ideal customer should want your product, need your offering, be able to use your offering and afford your offering. Making sales calls with customers who don’t fit the profile you’ve created will probably be a waste of your valuable time.FOCUS ..FOCUS…FOCUS…
- Step Five: Provide Feedback to Marketing. If you’re still getting long lists of undifferentiated leads, you need to help your marketing team (or whomever is passing you those leads) to better focus their lead generation efforts. Your goal in this step is to make the four step process above more automatic, so that you don’t have to spend your own time eliminating unlikely prospects. MAKE MARKETING WORK!!
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