Here’s the sales scenario. You’re meeting with a new prospect and it’s a pleasant meeting full of statements such as, “It’s always good to look at other options. We are committed to being best in class.” The salesperson digs, questions and probes to uncover pain or that big hairy audacious goal---without any luck.
At the end of the meeting, the prospect says, “Let’s continue the discussion. This sounds interesting.” Now, the salesperson didn’t really hear any reason to continue meeting with this prospect because the prospect doesn’t have any real pains to solve or goals to achieve. However, she schedules a second meeting, wasting valuable time that could be better invested with qualified opportunities or new opportunities. Why? There are two reasons.
#1: Lack of assertiveness. The salesperson lacking assertiveness goes along to get along. She forgets that sales is a two-way street. If a prospect doesn’t have a big enough problem to fix or goal to achieve, it’s okay for a salesperson to disqualify the prospect.
The assertive salesperson knows that he has the right to continue working only with opportunities that are serious about taking action. Salespeople scoring high in assertiveness are comfortable stating the obvious and doing it respectfully. ”Mr. Prospect, I’m not sure I am hearing enough reasons for you to make a change….what am I missing?”
#2: Mistaking interest with evidence. It’s easy to get caught up in motivational rhetoric such as, “We are always looking to do better.” The salesperson has not heard any real reasons for getting better. He’s confused hearing information with hearing evidence.
Effective salespeople are heat seeking missiles for gaining evidence for the stated need. Is the need to get better coming from the fact that a competitor is getting more aggressive? Is the need to get better coming from the changing demands of customers? Or is the need to get better really about the prospect’s ability to open up new markets and verticals?
The most effective salespeople get to the truth quickly. They only work with prospects that have a problem big enough to address or goals large enough to achieve.
Improve your assertiveness and evidence gathering skills to better qualify or disqualify opportunities. Not every prospect deserves a second meeting.