The only question sales representatives usually tell me is: "How to force my potential client to take action?" We need to analyze this in detail to explore the reasons for this question. You can compel your client to act, but much of what sellers consider convincing does not achieve the desired result.
You lost control
One of the reasons for the question of how you force the client of your dreams to change lies in the fact that you have lost control of the process, if you ever had it. A useful way to think about selling is to sell a meeting, sell the process, and then sell your solution. Many, if not most, vendors sell the meeting and then work to sell the solution. By avoiding the sometimes difficult conversation that sells the process, they leave meetings with no definite next step – and no commitment from their potential customer (see this video on commitments without commitment and flexible commitments).
To control the process, you must submit a file for the next meeting after each meeting. You can set the stage for this commitment even at the beginning of the process. (See Neil Rackham's Spin Selling and my second book, The Lost Art of Closing). When you leave a meeting without commitment, you end up forcing them to do what comes next by email and voicemail, two supports that make it difficult to coerce the action. No more aggressive sales tactics. The lost art of the fence shows you how to proactively manage your customer and close your sales.
Once you lose control, it is difficult to recover. The best thing to do is sell the process where possible.
Low discovery and no exploration
One of the challenges of traditional discovery is that it is not as powerful as it once was when it came to convincing changes. The difference between what I call level 3 value creation and level 4 value creation is that level 3 tends to be responsive, while level 4 is proactive. In the first case, you interview your potential customer about his or her existing problems. In the second case, you define the context of the change by working to force it.
Traditional discovery assumes that the prospect knows what and why they must change. While the traditional methods we think of to identify the challenges and opportunities of the potential customer are always useful, other approaches offer a wider range of actions, what we might call exploration. A Level 4 approach would allow you to define your client's goal and help them recognize the most important and systemic threats and opportunities, as well as improve their strategic outcomes. . (You can find more information on this approach in Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Far From Your Competitors). Win customers away from your competitors. Check-out Eat their lunch
While traditional discovery assumes that the customer is – or should be – already forced to change, we now start from the premise that sellers can and must strive to make compelling arguments for change. A modern approach does not exclude the idea that it is not advantageous to develop and test a theory about what already convinces your dream client.
What is it that already convinces them?
In each sector, there are systemic problems that some companies have not solved. There are also external forces that put pressure on these companies to change or soon to change. The simplest way to gain insight into the nature of these forces and how executives view them is to look at the financial reporting of publicly traded companies. Their statements to investors describe their forward-looking strategies, as well as what they see as a threat to their bottom line.
If you can relate your theory to the reasons why your dream client should change to what already drives them to do something different, your solution has a better chance of going forward.
One day, I heard a salesperson ask a senior executive at the sales pitch meeting what he should do to become his number one priority. The executive told the seller that what he had sold would never be their top priority, but that if he could help improve one of the top three, he would get a lot of attention.
The reason why executives rely on trusted advisors is that they are so busy getting results in their business that they can not monitor everything. They tend to surround people who can see in the corners and fill them. Sometimes, when you are at your best, you know what should convince them before they do it.
What should convince them
A trusted advisor does not show up when their client is damaged by not modifying early enough. The notice "You should not have done this" is not helpful afterwards.
There is an advantage to creating and gaining opportunities by shaping them well in advance. By setting the context for why your dream client should change, what they risk losing or winning, and helping them with the right questions, you are positioning yourself to create the opportunity and win it. While waiting for someone else to do this work, you end up giving them a definite advantage.
This is Level 4, proactively advocating for change. If you think it's harder, try selling against someone who has shaped your dream customer's vision about his business and what he needs to do.
What happens if they do not do anything?
When the client of your dreams is not required to take action, including at the next meeting, you lack the implications. Salespeople try to take advantage of two factors that do not often rise to this level for their dream customers.
- Deadlines for pricing: Your dream client is changing because he wants a discount. That's why they are not obliged.
- ultimatums: There is no reason to send a breaking letter to a potential customer to convince him to get back in touch with you. The problem with telling them that you are going to remove their opportunity and move on is that your dream client can accept your order.
If you want to impose change, you must focus on the implications of not changing now. Nothing less than that is not likely to get your potential client to act.
Get my second book: The Lost Art of Closing
"In The lost art of the fenceAnthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest aspects of the sales process – if you have set it up well with other commitments that need to be made well before closing. The key is to guide customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a stall of purchases. "
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