Search Results for: pain

Be a Pain Seeking Missile

Sales calls sometimes get bogged down and go nowhere. Did you ever lose the thread of a conversation and end up having the conversation go in a direction that was not helping to move the pursuit along the way it should have? One way to combat that is to become a pain seeking missile. Just follow the pain where ever it leads, even if it seems like it is going nowhere. When you get to the real pain the prospect is more likely to act. Once you can get the prospect to open up and discuss what is really bothering them (at the deepest level) you will accomplish two things. First you will know what problem to work on solving and the prospect will more than likely move the ball forward. And second you will discover that you have a closer bond to the prospect. And the bonus is that if your missile fizzles without finding any pain, you can move on to a prospect who does.

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HOW DID I DO IN THE PAIN STEP

 

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Look For Personal Pain

Salespeople who only focus on the problem the organization is having can miss the factor that is most likely to motivate the prospect to take action or to authorize purchase of your product or service.  Prospects are motivated by personal pain more than merely a problem that needs to be solved. Personal pain can be defined as how the prospect feels about the problem at hand. The first step is to understand the problem of course. the second step is to uncover how the problem affects the person you are talking to. but the most important step is to get the prospect to share with you how he or she feels about how the consequences of the problem affect their life. A company may be less efficient because of an outdated CRM. However consider two separate situations one in which the VP of Operations is focused on upgrading the manufacturing equipment and another in which the President has just informed him that the slow CRM is costing thousands of dollars in lost sales and told him his job is on the line if he doesn’t get it fixed. In which case does the CRM salesperson have a better chance of making sale? Yet most salespeople fail to uncover the real motivation and focus on show how good the CRM system will perform. The winner will be the one who gets to the real issue – the VP’s job security.

Pain Varies Over Time

detourThe world is a dynamic place and things change from day to day. Just think about your own company and your own life today compared to last quarter or last year. If your life and your perspective changes so much why would you think that the prospects life and perspective would be any different? When things change in the prospects life, their view of your product and the urgency to make a purchase will also change. When their situation changes, that change will have a major impact on whether you can close the sale and how and when you should close the sale. The fact that the situation can change mandates that you stay abreast of the latest developments. When you go in to make a presentation or have a follow up meeting, make sure that you verify that things haven’t changed dramatically since your last meeting before you proceed. You can read more about it here.

Top 3 reasons pain is NOT enough to make the sale

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Many people say that if you know the prospect’s pain you can make a sale. That is not always true. In many cases the prospect has gotten used to the pain and therefore does not act. This can be frustrating to the salesperson who knows the prospect needs what she has and has an obvious problem with some major consequences but won’t act. Many times the inexperienced salesperson resorts to pressure which can cause the prospect to resist even more. You need to recognize that pain is a necessary but not always a sufficient reason to make a sale. Here are the top three reasons that jumping to the close from the pain discussion will not work.

  1. MONEY – The salesperson fails to discuss money with the prospect. The prospect may have a lot of pain but with no money available to address the problem, the sale is not completed. It is also possible that in this scenario the prospect suffers sticker shock when they see the price and sends them into a comparison shopping mode to check the validity of the price. This seldom ends well for the salesperson who first met the prospect.
  2. URGENCY – the prospect my have pain but no compelling reason to do it NOW. Without discussing a timeframe when the project needs to be done, the sale will drag on and may die of old age as the prospect eliminates the pain in some other way.
  3. AUTHORITY – Even though the prospect may have pain, they may lack the authority too do anything about it. This usually means that the salesperson started too low in the organization and may need to adjust their target client description.

Prep your expert

Experts can cause you problems if they you don’t handle them correctly. There should always have a reason to bring them on the call with you. It might be that they are there just in case there is a question you can’t answer. It might be to make the presentation about how you will solve the problem, or it might be to lead the effort in finding pain because the person you are dealing with is a technical person. It is important that whatever the plan is the expert knows what the plan and is ready to follow your direction. If they are just there in case a question comes up, make sure you tell them not to speak until you ask them to. To do otherwise is to invite disaster. If you are not careful they may take over the sales call in a misguided attempt to help you. This never ends well. In summary have a plan or don’t take the expert and make sure they know the plan and are ready to follow it.

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Wants to do it vs will do it – Follow up

There can be a big difference between someone who wants your product and someone who will buy your product. Many salespeople get excited when the prospect exhibits interest or says that they want or need their product. However, if you stop with need or want, you may end up with a pipeline bloated with prospects who are never going to buy. The difference between “I want that” and “I will buy that” mostly lies in whether there is enough pain to “compel” action. The first step in qualifying a prospect is to make sure there is a compelling reason to buy. The compelling reason usually resides in the answer to the question “why do you want it” or “why do you need it”. It may take more questions than that and many minutes of conversation but eventually the prospect must reveal what is driving them to move forward. If they don’t then there will be no sale in the immediate future.

Wants to do it vs will do it

Are your forecasts inaccurate? Is your pipeline bloated with deals that never close? It might be because you don’t appreciate the difference between someone who will buy form someone who merely wants to buy. As I write this I want to buy a new car. The Lexus I have is getting older and there are some minor problems with it. Nothing major, there are just some minor annoyances. Plus, I like some of the features of the new cars. BUT, I am not in enough pain to buy one. There is no urgency. Besides I hate cars in general and don’t especially relish the task of buying one. Money is not the issue. If I was in front of a car salesperson, I would sound like a buyer and act like a buyer, but I would not be a buyer since there is nothing pushing me to buy. However, that could change. If my mechanic would alert me to a major impending expensive problem, I would suddenly have enough urgency to buy immediately. Don’t be fooled by people who give “buying signals”. Make sure they have enough urgency to buy in the short term. Ask questions. Dig deeper and you will avoid the dreaded pipeline bloat.

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Forget you heard it Before

Keep listening to prospects even if you think you have heard it before. The personal pain of each prospect is different. Some salespeople tend to stop listening when the prospect starts to tell them the problem because they have heard this a hundred times before and they think they know where the prospect is going with this description. If you do this, you will miss the real personal pain that this prospect has. Or at least you will miss the hint they give you which will lead you to ask more and better questions. Even worse, some salespeople interrupt the prospect in mid description with a statement like “Oh I know your problem!”. There is no faster way to turn off a prospect and ruin your chances to develop a relationship that saying that. So, even if you think you have heard it all before, listen intently and you will discover that the key to the sale may lie in the nuances of this particular situation and how the prospect reacts to them.

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Be Helpful Not Salesy

Talking about your company and your product is not always being helpful to the prospect. At some point they need to know about that stuff but only after you have uncovered the problem and the pain they are in. A much more effective approach is to be helpful to the prospect. Now I believe that every salesperson wants to be helpful, but many go about it the wrong way. One effective approach to being helpful is to ask questions which will uncover issues that the prospect may not be aware of. Effective questions may also help the prospect crystallize his or her thinking around certain issues. Questions are a great way to establish credibility since you tell more about what you know by the questions you ask than by the statements you make. So when you are talking with prospects be helpful. Ask questions that lead them to a better understanding and you can leave the sales talk at home.

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