When I was a new salesperson, we had this great opportunity at a leading greeting card company. This organization was super psyched about our product, and the meetings went really well. So well that we decided to not just sell them the $50,000 proof-of-concept, but push for the whole license sale of just under $1M. Again, the process seemed pretty smooth, but the sale got bogged down by their security and IT risk teams.
This was the sort of the thing that the proof-of-concept was designed to solve — and would have.
Instead we lost the deal. We spent so long trying to convince the security and risk team that we lost executive sponsorship. They had moved onto other projects, so instead of a $50K deal leading to the $1M, we lost it all. Moral of the story is, we were focused on the end goal, and lost sight of the steps we needed to take to get us there. As a result, the end goal didn’t matter because it didn’t happen.
Focus on Each Step In The Sales Process
We should have been focused on the goals during each step of the sales process. By staying in touch with the client — perhaps by using a tool like Spiro — and confronting their obstacles, we could have reached our goal. A helpful technique in doing this is to approach each meeting by assigning it with a distinct purpose.
The following steps can help you do this:
1. Consider Your Client’s Perspective
First, always put yourself in the shoes of your client. Where are they in the decision making process? What obstacles are they facing? By ensuring you know their perspective, you can directly confront any obstacles and focus on finding a solution for them. In doing this, you stay on a focused and clear path to a resolution, instead of leaving the client to begin browsing elsewhere.
2. Set a Client-Focused Purpose for the Meeting
Once you have identified any issue that needs to be discussed with your prospect, set the goal for the meeting with this in mind. Brainstorm the issue and possible resolutions and come up with a plan for the client that either solves the problem, or provides alternate options they can take.
3. Share the Purpose with the Client
Third, at this point you have done a great deal of brainstorming and are ready for your meeting. However, your client is on their own and has no idea what is going on. Show professionalism and engage them by sending them an agenda for what you plan to talk about during the meeting. In doing so, you will keep the client involved in the sales process and assure them that you are actively working toward solving their need.
We call this a “mutual close plan” and getting your clients and prospects involve goes a long way to getting their committment to the sale.
So now you know that you need to think about your client’s perspective, identify current issues and obstacles in the sale, set an objective for the meeting addressing those problems and share that with the client. Next you set your meetings and work toward that close.
What happens when you achieve it? Leave!
Seriously… it doesn’t matter if you have a two hour session scheduled and you achieve your goal in the first 30 minutes. Take that as a victory, and plan your next battle.
Implications of This Approach
To do this effectively, you need to purposefully make a plan before each interaction with the client. You need to communicate with your team to make sure they’re on the same wavelength with you…. and also keep the client in the loop. Stick to this game plan and before you know it, you will be celebrating the victory of a sale.