Monday, September 20, 2010

Ideas while you wait

Ideas by SKI while you wait How much would you pay for a breakthrough? The other day I was talking to a client about the sales process he uses to close deals. We talked about this issue the week before that one. And the week before that. When all of sudden the light bulb ignites and I have this flash of brilliance. Honest. Do you understand the concept of a leverage point? A challenge or issue (or some may say a problem) in one step of your sales process that most often derails the whole process? And more times than not, will actually cause you to lose the sale? Great! Honest, that is great news. Because that suggests the answer to blowing the roof off your sales projections just got ten times easier! How so? You already know, but I will tell you one more time. For free. When given lemons, make lemonade Too fast for you? Okay, let's step through the issue and the resulting breakthrough that should give my client at least a ten-fold bump in sales in the next 90 days. But I have to change the setting and industry to protect my client. Let's go back to one of my favorite environments: technology. Also, let's define the environment (or assumptions as I prefer to call all those details that most folks pay too little attention):
  • In this example, we use the "two call close"
  • The product is a physical item, but considered to be an intangible
  • To keep it short, we will skip the prospecting and qualification processes
So, there you have it. Short and sweet. Like looking through a magnifying glass at just the two sales calls that "should" result in "closing" the sale, as Zig Ziglar might say. On the first call the salesman (generic term for species of man engaged in the selling process) works their magic and simply "finds a need" that the prospect has, and it just so happens, the salesman's company can solve. For this scenario, lets suggest that the prospect is the IT/IS Manager for a manufacturing firm in a nearby town. The salesman represents a company that sells CAD software. Computer Aided Design software that potentially could save the prospect's company thousands of dollars each month from several "features" that help define the offering. Makes sense so far, right? Basically the salesman, let's call her Suzie, gathers the data on the prospect's company, let's call it WIIFM Inc. A play on the old adage, "What's In It For Me?" Suzie is a professional with years of experience. Knows the challenges WIIFM is facing and how the solution will absolutely save thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars each month. Gathers up all the details and heads back to her office to build the proposal. So far, so good, right? Here is the million dollar idea... wait for it... Suzie knows the reason for every sale she has lost the last five years. Do you? So I ask Suzie, where do the wheels come off the deal when you fail to get a signature on the dotted line when you make your final presentation? If you don't know this answer for your efforts, I cannot help you. But I digress... Suzie responds: All the deals that fail to close share one trait, the person that assured me they are the decision-maker for my solution says something like:
"Let me review this with fill_in_the_blank and get back to you."
See the problem? It does not matter if they say they need to review it with their boss or the Comptroller or even the President of the company, the results are the same. Mostly likely the deal is dead. Why? You have spent years learning how to effectively answer objections concerning your company's solution. You know the product inside and out. How well can your prospect represent it to her boss? Exactly. The million dollar solution: Do not make the second call and presentation without the prospect's fill_in_the_blank in attendance. Period. In other words, when you schedule the follow up where you present the solution, tell the prospect we need fill_in_the_blank in the room, and can they please confirm that person will attend? I know, sounds too simple, right? Please don't make selling any more difficult than it already is! In some circles, getting the prospect to commit to having their superior at the final presentation is called, "posture." Stand your ground firmly and make it clear that this is a requirement. Otherwise, 20% of the time you might close the sale, but 80% of them will get away. Need help moving your business to the promised land of financial success? The timing has never been better for "outcome" driven organizations to take charge and make it happen... with the right catalyst. Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah ©2010 Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey. All rights reserved.
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