Say you work in automotive sales. A prospective buyer walks onto your showroom floor and starts hovering over a flashy new model with a six-figure sticker price. What's going through your head? Your commission? Your quota? Your boss breathing down your neck?
While you waste your time with this prospect whose body language screams "non-committal," you've overlooked five other customers inquiring honestly, looking for a sales rep who'll answer questions and tailor financing around their needs.
Whether you sell cars, payroll processing services, or CPE technology, knowing the answers to these three questions could help you determine if you've got a sale in the works or whether you're simply wasting your time.
01: Where does it hurt?
If a prospect doesn't have pain points they need relieved, chances are there is no urgency to buy.
When a patient shows up to a doctor's appointment, the physician isn't going to guess the problem - he'll ask questions to discover the root cause of the ailments. Do the same for your prospect. Ask questions to discover what ails them about their current voice, video, or data solution. If they can't provide many answers, be cautious on the time you invest in them.
02: Who holds the checkbook?
How much time do you think you and your colleagues spend talking to gatekeepers or influencers when they should be in the ear of the CFOs? Hopefully, not much. In reality, probably way too much.
It is interesting, and avoidable, how many sales opportunities fall apart after much time and effort when going through the "numbers" - the budget is not large enough, existing financial obligations prohibit additional expenses, the expense is not structured as the customer expected, on and on.
Remember, anyone can tell you they have a budget. Confirming who will be the ultimate decision-maker is important. And being able to communicate directly with them is imperative. You need to confirm the true financial requirements of any transaction and that you have the ability to construct a solution recommendation that meets those requirements.
03: Who else has a hat in the ring?
Whoever said "all's fair in love and war" forgot to include "sales." Reps are masters of their competitors' offerings. They have to be. How else can they differentiate their products and demonstrate greater viability to prospects?
Do you know which of your competitors is whispering in your lead's ear right now? Unless a prospect buys immediately, they've got someone else on the side. Know thy enemy - ask your prospect where they've shopped around and what features they find attractive. Then, once in the know, formulate your attack plan. Nothing ensures victory in battle more than a freshly sharpened sword.
With the answers to these questions, you can more clearly identify your real opportunities and those prospects that are likely to give to nod to your solution.