How many times have you thought you had business in the bag only to find out, at the last minute, you LOST the deal? A common misfire, in the beginning of your selling process is often to blame. For many, our prospecting effort is just a part of our selling effort. So when your prospect utters the golden phrase, “I am interested” it’s easy to get excited and almost by auto-pilot, launch your closing effort.
Interpreting their interest as an indication that they are ready to buy is a major problem! It causes you to race off with only the idea of getting them across the finish as your dominate thought. As a result, you pass by important checkpoints in the sales conversation, filling in the blanks for yourself, believing that you know exactly where they are and what they are thinking. But soon, reality comes speeding back to you, as they tell you that they are not going to buy. Dazed and dejected, you realize that you missed something important, but what?
The solution to not jumping the gun and wasting your valuable selling time lies in slowing down and looking at your sales process differently. You have to see your prospecting effort as marketing and separate from you selling effort. It’s designed to attract the “right” opportunities to you, not to be the launch of your selling sequence. To improve your sales results, you should have three separate and distinct steps that have to happen in the beginning, before you ever actually start selling.
The first step is your commercial/elevator speech. It’s designed solely to attract your ideal customer, at least it should be. Its purpose is to create the ability for you to have an unrushed conversation – that’s it. It’s certainly shouldn’t be the fast-track lane to your closing effort. The second step is the discovery piece. It’s here, during the unrushed conversation, that you will strive to discover if they (your lead) has the problem/issue that you’re able to solve with your offering. If they do, you’re getting closer, but it’s still not time to start selling. Remember, at this point, they are only pre-qualified. The third step is to fully qualify them. You have to determine if they are willing and capable of taking action to solve their problem. If they are, then they are qualified, and it’s time to start your actual selling sequence. If they are not, they are disqualified and you move on, without investing anymore of your limited, but valuable selling time.
Understanding that your prospecting effort is not your selling effort; and that just because someone has the problem you solve, doesn’t mean that they are willing to do anything about it is your first step to clarity and guarding against jumping the gun. If you will slow down, see your selling effort in terms of prospecting first, and selling second, you will avoid wasting your valuable selling time by thinking the business is in the bag, only to learn later, they were looking, not buying.