Timing is Everything

You have all heard this adage before, and never is it more true than in sales. There is no sales without a customer, and customers, rather prospects are in one of three categories at any given time. Satisifed:  Buyer believes that all of their needs are currently being met, they are not shopping or actively looking for alternatives. Seeking:  Buyer is actively looking for a better mousetrap, there are certain needs that are not being met, and the buyer believes there is a better alternative, they just need to find it. Sedentary:  Buyer knows that their needs are no longer being met, but they have not yet decided to take action and start looking for another option.  They are the easiest target. These types of prospects are five times more likely than the others to buy.  When connecting with these prospects it is rare to be in a competitive sales position.  You are the one that has the solution and have made it very easy on them, no shopping around, no dealing with pushy salespeople, they are able to move forward with a solution that has sought them out. So how do you find those in the Sedentary mode?  Teach your network, your strategic alliances and your current customers how to identify the early signs of dissatisfaction.  Getting to these prospects early ensures that they have not started ‘Seeking’ for an alternative – and you will be able to make it easy on them. The other way to find the Sedentary prospects is to connect with those that believe they are Satisfied and provide them with additional information on quality, service levels or additional products that there current solution is not providing.  Your efforts will result in shifting those that thought they were previously Satisfied into the Sedentary category, and since you have connected with them emotionally, you are the natural choice when they realize their needs are not being met. And finally, when allocating your time to prospects, you should spend about 50% of your time with those that are Sedentary as they are most likely to buy from you because of the relationship, and split the balance of your time between the Satisfied and the Seeking. YOUR CHALLENGE:   Look at the prospects in your pipeline and make sure that you are spending your time appropriately with those that are Sedentary.

Getting the Sale

Whether you are a veteran salesperson or new to the sales world, it is likely that you can find ways to improve your sales process.  Tom Hopkins a sales guru and author of  ‘Sell it Now, Sell it Today’ provides us with some very real insights into the key components of the sales process. The first element is TRUST.  Early on in the sales cycle the prospect is looking for evidence that they can trust you.  This can often be easily demonstrated by following through on simple commitments, call when you say you will call, send what you say you will send, and do what you say you will do.  Using body language there are several cues that subliminally reinforce trust, such as keep your hands above the table, sit side by side, keep arms and legs uncrossed, match and mirror the tone and pace with whom you are speaking. The second element is NEED.  Asking good questions is the first step in getting to the needs of a prospect, asking great questions allows you to understand the full impact related to the need.  It is important that you don’t stop too early and you drive to get to the details so you are fully prepared when you move to the next step. The next element in the selling process is HELP.  Now that you have their trust and you understand the need you are well positioned to offer very specific details on how you can meet their needs.  The details of what you have learned by asking great questions can now be used to highlight the facts or features of your products or services, immediately followed by the benefits.   Make sure your point of view reflects the customers’ perspective of ‘what’s in it for me’. The final element is HURRY. Creating a sense of urgency around making a decision about moving forward can be a tricky or uncomfortable situation.  It is not necessary to be pushy in order to create a sense of urgency.  By focusing on their dissatisfaction about their current situation you can stimulate a desire to take action.  As an alternative you can focus on the upside or the vision of what it would be like using your products or services.  Either way you are trying to compel them to make a decision. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Take a look at your sales process and see how you can incorporate trust, need, help and hurry into your approach.