You met with the prospect and thought you ran an effective meeting.The prospect seemed engaged and interested. He said all the right things. This looks really interesting. We know we need to do something.
You follow-up with the prospect and hear radio silence. Your phone calls and emails are not being returned. You start to wonder if your prospect has retired or moved to Antarctica. Unfortunately, you are now in ‘chase mode.’ How did you end up here?
Many salespeople need to develop an emotional intelligence skill called reality testing. This is the ability to see things as they are rather than how you would like them to be.
Here are three tips to help you improve your reality testing skills and consultative selling skills.
#1: Don’t confuse interest for action. I have never seen a prospect invest time or money because of interest. Unfortunately, when salespeople hear that the prospect is interested, they stop asking questions and assume they have a real opportunity.
A salesperson with high reality testing goes on high alert, asking more questions. “What makes this interesting? What have you done thus far? What is the reason you haven’t done anything?” Great salespeople know that the prospect must convince them that they are not just interested. They are committed to changing, growing and improving.
#2: Do not confuse information for evidence. For example, your prospect shares, “We are tired of poor customer service.” Apply your reality testing skills. You heard information; however, you have no evidence that the prospect is really experiencing poor customer service. And is the problem really big enough to change vendors or invest more dollars? Without asking further questions, a salesperson may also miss that the prospect is the problem….not the existing vendor. Perhaps, the prospect isn’t getting information to their existing vendor in a timely fashion, which is impacting the existing vendor’s ability to service the account.
#3: A clear next step. Here’s a reality check. You don’t have a clear next step unless it’s on both parties calendar. Has anyone been guilty of accepting a vague request from prospects such as, “Give me a call in a couple of weeks.” Vague next steps lead to chase mode and vague sales pipelines. Apply another emotional intelligence skill, assertiveness, and book a specific date and time to call. Serious prospects have no problem scheduling the next appointment.
Apply emotional intelligence skills and consultative skills during the sales process. Eliminate chase mode and wasted time. You deserve to work with prospects that are “into you.”
Colleen Stanley, President and CSO