What Went Wrong and How Do I Get Back in the Game?
“Hi Michael: We had a person who owns a party rental company and who contacted us through our website. He said he was evaluating software. So he is looking for the right product. We demoed him on May 17th, and last Thursday I called him to follow up.
It seems that he recognized who I was and said that he was still evaluating software. We could not talk for too long cause he’s got someone on the other line calling him.
So, I emailed him saying that I’d get in touch with him by the end of the week but it was Thursday already and besides, party rental companies are busy on Fridays and Mondays, so, I want to call him today. What would your strategy be in this case?”
The Common Solution Has a Bigger Problem
Ok for starters, other "sales trainers" may try and teach you to come up with some trickery on how to get this prospect back on the phone and I'm sure if you do it often enough, sometimes whatever they will tell you to say may work on occasion.
I see a bigger problem here though. And if you solve the bigger problem, you can eliminate the need to "overcome" this scenario all together and will be closing more sales in no time. A lot more.
Let's break this down & show you what I mean:
"We had a person who owns a party rental company and who contacted us through our website. He said he was evaluating software. So he is looking for the right product. We demoed him on May 17th…"
Whoa! How did we go from "being contacted" to "demoing the product?" so fast?
This is a common mistake among veteran and new sales people alike. Especially with "warm leads" (leads that are raising their hand)
Let's look at this a little closer… "We had a person who owns a party rental company and who contacted us through our website"
Ok I'm willing to bet that once you got this warm lead and found out he/she is the owner and was interested in evaluating your software program that your heart started racing with excitement and you started doing the "happy dance" in your head. You probably also shouted out to your inner sales senses "full steam ahead!" and then stepped on the gas.
And in doing so, we missed a bunch of steps that could have helped increase your odds dramatically for closing this potential opportunity.
What Was Missed?
Here are 3 keys that were missed (there are more than these 3, BTW)
- Decision Makers: Is this person the "sole" owner? - Just because he/she says they are the owner doesn't automatically mean they can or will pull the trigger all by themselves. Every organization has its own individual "buying / purchasing" process. Maybe the buck starts and stops with your prospect. But maybe it doesn't. The problem is, you don't know at this point. Maybe the owner will also heavily rely in his IT person’s input. Leaving the IT person out of the equation could end in disaster. There are numerous scenarios that could involve other players even though you may be speaking to the owner. The problem is, it's too early in the sales process to inquire what their exact role is and what the purchasing process for them is like however you need to be "aware" that you have yet to confirm / uncover what their purchasing process is and understand that this is still a stone that will need to be uncovered before performing a demo (Yes, I said before the demo)
- "He was evaluating software. So he is looking for the right product" - Why is he evaluating software to begin with? What is he hoping a new solution will do that his current solution isn't doing? Have they definitely made the decision to get a new solution and they are simply looking to see which is the best option or they evaluating to see if it's worth making a switch to begin with? Those are two different sales paths you will need to trek down on.
- What does his/her ideal solution look like? And why does it to look / act that way? Once you and the prospect understand the "why" the need / desire, uncover how they prefer to solve the problem and why they prefer to have it solved that way.
These are just some of the areas that need to be addressed in this scenario and once you have the right sales process down (knowing what questions to ask, when to ask them, how to ask them, why to ask them, who to ask them to and what to do with the responses given) you will notice you no longer have to call and hear "I've got someone on the other line" and then get the brush off as you sit and wait on the sidelines hoping that you don't lose the deal to one of your competitors.
Sounds great, you say but "how does that help me now with this prospect?"
Here's what I would do if I were you… I'd call the prospect and say I have another idea / option you may be interested in (pique interest) but would need them to speak with (_____) in your company to see if this option / idea would work and then hand the phone over to your sales manager or another rep who does know the right sales process who can reengage the prospect and do a "lightning round" do over and re-cover the steps that were missed. Just make sure you know what your idea / option is that would be worth their time should the prospect now wants to become a client.
CSS: Chief Sales Scientist
SalesBuzz.com (A 2011 Sales Training Company Watch List Award Winner!)
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