“By asking the hard questions early, you will eliminate any question marks and check these steps off your list as you progress through the sales process.” – Pat Rodgers in today’s Tip 445
Have you purchased something like this before??
Join the conversation below and learn more about Pat!
Have feedback? Want to share a sales tip? Call or text the Sales Success Hotline: 512-777-1442 or Email: [email protected]
Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Pat Rodgers. Pat is the CEO of Loupe and is a veteran sales leader and manager. Here he is:
Pat Rodgers: I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about aligning your sales process to the buyer’s journey, that by aligning to them and meeting them where they are, it will make for a smoother sale. I think all of this is true. However, what happens when your buyer doesn’t actually know how to buy? Well, I’m going to walk you through is a simple takeaway that will hopefully change the way you approach your sales process. Our job as salespeople in leaders is to align what we offer to our client’s needs in order to create value. Our second most important job is to close business in the timeline we’ve established to achieve quota and sales targets. And we don’t forecast our business accurately this leads to slip deals, which lead to really uncomfortable conversations with your manager, or even worse, missing an accelerator and leaving money on the table.
Let’s talk about how we avoid this happening to you. It begins with one somewhat uncomfortable question; Have you purchased something like this before? And it needs to come out as early as humanly possible, which is the uncomfortable part. As an example, every seller can probably recall a time in their career when you have what I like to call happiers. For you younger sellers, it probably sounded something like this. This deal is perfect. The buyer loves me. We’re texting. It’s definitely coming in and then it didn’t. You remember that deal? We all had them.
Now, if you step back, did you remember to ask the contact if they’d ever bought a product like yours before if they’d ever bought anything before? If you don’t attack this question as early as possible, come back to bite you in one way or another. It doesn’t mean you won’t win the deal. You can still win, but you may not win on time and thus a slip deal. At some point in your very first conversation, you will know if there’s some level of alignment and understanding of value for your offering. This is when you have to ask the most important question; “Mr. and Mrs. Prospect. It sounds like we have alignment. How would something like this be purchased in your organization?” Then pause, wait and don’t speak until they respond. It’s the hardest part, silence is where you’re going to get the most information. If they don’t answer or can’t answer, let them know you want to help them determine the steps to gain approval. If they do, they’re going to give you a wealth of information. Show them that you’re on their side. Share Gates and the process you’ve seen hit before in software it maybe IT approval, security review, et cetera, et cetera. Build them up and ask if they would be the one that would actually sign something like this or is there somebody else that we need to get involved. Throughout other hurdles, you’ve seen. Do they have procurement? Will they need budget approval? When is the best time to get these folks involved? Depending on the time of year, really deep. Do you think your general counsel is going to be on vacation this August or taking a big holiday for Christmas and New Year’s, you name it, whatever it is, get out ahead of it because if they see value and they have some level of alignment, they want to help you, help them.
Guide them through the buying process. By asking these questions early, you’re plotting out not only the tasks you need to accomplish but the steps your prospect has to go accomplish internally. If they don’t, they’ll never be able to buy what you’re offering. These questions will also help you to determine if you’re talking to a tire kicker, a gatekeeper, a champion, or the actual economic buyer. A quick no, because this person has no authority to buy, is much better than wasting weeks or months on a deal going nowhere. Even better if they realize they can’t buy but still want it, use them to guide you through the organization. If they see value, they will appreciate that you have helped guide them throughout the process. By asking the hard questions early, you will eliminate any question marks and check these steps off your list as you progress through the sales process. This is when you have truly aligned to how buyers buy, whether it is an experienced buyer or someone who has never bought before or new to the company you’re going to be covered. Understand the true timelines and be in the driver’s seat to close deals faster and become much more accurate when it comes to the actual signature date. Hit quota and your forecast. Happy selling.
Scott Ingram: For more from Pat, subscribe to the Manager Minute, a once-weekly personal note from Pat that’s written exclusively for current or aspiring sales managers. It’s delivered every Sunday morning and takes less than 1 minute to read. We’ll have that link and more for you at DailySales.Tips/445
Once you’ve done that, be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!