- Posted by Graham Dockrill
- On November 30, 2017
- 3 Comments
- buying process, closing, growth, leads, prospects, qualifying, sales, strategy, tactics
Sales is challenging profession requiring the skills of persuasion, confidence and instilling trust. There are common traits that all salespeople possess. There are also unique challenges. These challenges are similar in nature.
Broadly speaking a salesperson’s day will consist of a mixture of the following:
When you are prospecting and qualifying a good tool to measure the sincerity of the conversation is the ‘BANTER’ system. BANTER allows you to quickly identify any weak points in your prospect and see where you need to focus your energy. Assign each action 10 points – the closer you are to 60 points, the closer you are to closing the deal. Any low scores signify where you need to prioritise your energy to increase the likelihood of success.
B – Budget – do they have the budget to work with you?
A – Authority – do they have the authority to spend the budget?
N – Need – do they have the need for your services?
T – Timeliness – do they have an urgent need or is it a planning/process decision that could take 36 months to go through the system (e.g. preferred supplier process for large corporate versus almost instantaneous for owner/operator).
E – Evaluate – do we have certain obligations to make the decision-making process easier? Do they have upsell opportunities we can quote on? Evaluate the current landscape and move forward.
R – Roles/Responsibility – do they require escalation for approval? Do we need to put energy into multiple layers of an organisation to get approval?
Prospecting, qualifying and closing are three different skills each with its own unique challenges. There is one universal problem however that happens during each stage, and that is the objection to progress to the next stage. An objection can manifest itself in many ways: objections to a meeting, objections to your statement, objections to your product. The term ‘objection’ covers a lot of scenarios that a salesperson must face and work through. Some examples of objections are:
“I don’t have time in my diary.”
“I need to talk to my superior first.”
“We already use a competitor offering.”
“Call us back next week.”
“Your product is too expensive compared to other offerings in the market.”
Although customers will find ways to object, there are three main tactics you can use to overcome these obstructions and move prospects forward in the buying process.
The first tactic is a five-point checklist that tracks chances to turn an objection into an opportunity. While simplistic in approach, the outcomes can be substantial.
|1||Follow-up their objection with a question that will potentially lead them to reconsider their point of view.||“So you think our service is too expensive? I’m curious, what type of ROI would you need to justify such expenditure?”|
|2||Identify hesitations in the conversation that can be countered later||Make note any time you hear the word but, well, etc.|
|3||Write down details about the customer’s business and what products and services they’re already using.||In addition to general notes about the prospect’s business, writing down something specific they said can be useful later.|
|4||Learn how knowledgeable they are about our product.||Rate their knowledge on a scale of 1-10 to help direct future conversation.|
|5||Quote exact objections so you can offer a solution later using their own words. While seemingly the same statement below– they’re slightly different and can be leveraged in the future.||Did you say our product is too expensive or that it is not in your budget?|
The second tactic is an actionable four-step process that takes just minutes to walk through during objections.
- Listen – to clearly demonstrate that you are interested and want to understand the objection.
- Acknowledge – to convey your concern and demonstrate that you want to be more helpful.
- Explore – to be sure you have an accurate understanding of the concern.
- Respond – when you understand the objection and you’re ready to offer a solution to the objection that helps the prospect.
The third tactic to use in overcoming objections is , the ‘pain and gain funnel’ conversation. Pain and gain funnels are designed to qualify your customer’s pain points and potential gains from using your product or service.
|Pain Questions||Gain Questions|
|“Based on your concerns, what did I say that was of most interest to you?”||“Based on your upcoming goals, what did I say that was of most interest to you?”|
|“Tell me more about this pain point in your business.”||“Tell me more about the expected gains in your business.”|
|“Could you be more specific about the problem?”||“Could you be more specific about what you want to achieve?”|
|“How long have you had this concern?”||“How long have you been trying to achieve this?”|
|“What have you done so far to address this?”||“What have you done so far to accomplish this?”|
|“What would you say has been the overall impact to your business?”||“If you’re successful what will be the overall benefit to your business?”|
|“How high a priority is finding a solution?”||“How important is accomplishing this to you personally?”|
|Why is it so important to find a solution?”||Why is it so important to you to accomplish this?”|
Objections are always going to happen. By using these three tactics you can better handle them and move forward in the customer’s buying process, without hesitation. Sometimes the questions are subtly different, yet vitally important.
One final point that is valuable to any salesperson is the concept of of abundance, not scarcity. If you are not naturally confident you can focus on the negative, rather that the positive. A lead generation call centre I work alongside makes 1600 calls to new businesses every day with a conversion of three new customers considered a measure of success. On average 1 in 500 cold calls will convert. While that sounds incredibly low (and somewhat demoralising), the ability to contact 1600 new customers every day signifies a world of abundance and opportunity. This company focuses on the three ‘yes’s, not the 1597 no’s. Your business is no different, focus on the success and your business will grow.
Graham Dockrill is an internationally recognised thought leader and keynote speaker. His passion for entrepreneurship and startups, coupled with his considerable skills and experience, sees him adding value to businesses in the UK, USA and Australasia. Graham is the 2017/18 Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Canterbury’s Centre for Entrepreneurship.