September 9

What Do Prospects Want?


There was a really funny movie released in 2000 titled, “What Women Want.” Mel Gibson played the role of a male-chauvinist, egotistical advertising executive. He was accidentally jolted by electricity, enabling him to read women’s minds and for the first time, actually understood what they wanted. 

Would it be great if we all could experience the same thing in sales? The title of this movie would be, “What Do Prospects Want?”

I’m guessing the movie would reveal information about how to deal with prospects, who want:

#1. Authenticity. You might be thinking, “Great, I am genuine. The real deal.” You are - except when you’re selling! I’ve seen more than one salesperson, including myself, lose their authenticity when meeting with a prospect.

We get worried about looking and sounding smart. This leads to becoming self-focused rather than other-focused. “How am I looking and sounding?” When you are self-focused, you aren’t fully present. Prospects think they’re meeting with a robot rather than a real human being.

Early in my career, I heard a great speaker, Willy Jolly, ask an audience: “Are you here to influence or impress?”

Gulp. I recognized that in many situations, I worried about being impressive and, as a result, wasn’t being influential (closing business) because I wasn’t being authentic.

#2. The truth. The reality is that your product and service is not going to be for everyone. Sometimes it is simply not the right time for a prospect to work with you. Other times, your solution isn’t the one to help them achieve their desired outcome.

A colleague that specializes in strategic planning told me that he’s shared this truth with his prospects: “I’ve appreciated our conversation today. However, at this point, I don’t think you are ready or really in need of my services.”

Prospects appreciated his candor and more than once, he received a call in a year when they were serious and ready to make strategic changes to their business.

#3. Thought-provoking conversation. Busy prospects are overwhelmed. They don’t have a lot of extra time in their calendars. And because they are time-crunched, they don’t have time to think.

The best gift you can give a time-crunched prospect is the gift of thoughtful conversations that don’t waste their time. Invest time in precall planning questions that your prospect never has heard from you. Share an insight that your prospect isn’t even thinking of when making a buying decision. 

You will know that you’ve conducted a thoughtful conversation when a prospect says, “Huh, I’ve never even thought to ask THAT question. I didn’t even know that criteria should be in my purview when considering … ”  

We always talk about selling value. Thought-provoking sales conversations are value conversations that lead to closed business.

Be authentic, tell the truth and create thought-provoking conversations.

If you’d like to learn more about how we help sales teams accomplish these three goals, check out our upcoming Ei Selling® Boot Camp

Good Selling!


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