Slow down to Speed Up Your Sales
Short-circuiting the sales process erects barriers, kills the close.
This article initially appeared in Sales and Marketing Executives Report published by Dartnell.
After months of trying, you land an appointment with a major account who uses your competitor's products. Like many reps, you probably feel an overpowering urge to cram as much as possible into this one meeting. You need to tell them about your company's new directions, latest technologies, state-of-the-art products, competitive advantages, top-notch service, and more. So much to cover and so little time.
The Speed Backlash
Sound familiar? It's the result of trying to convert long-standing vendor relationships in one sales call. Prospects distrust motives when they perceive a lack of concern for their needs. And that's exactly what happens when you spend most of your time doing all the talking.
Slower Strategies for Faster Results
Top sellers realize that replacing an incumbent is a slow, deliberate process. They understand it takes time to demonstrate value and develop strong relationships. Knowing this, they put together a one-step-at-a-time account entry strategy that actually advances the sales process much faster than if they tried to do everything in a single call. The steps:
The sales process can't be short-circuited.
If you go too fast, problems are guaranteed to arise.
Your opportunity will evaporate into thin air.
The Big Meeting
At last it's time for the big meeting. Get down to business fairly quickly, minimizing chit chat. Start by stating your purpose. It's enough to simply say, "I'm here today to understand your organization better and see where we can improve your business results." Next share a short story about how your company helped another client and the specific results they attained. Talk results, not products!
Explain your process in working with accounts. Tell your prospect it's essential to fully understand his objectives, needs, issues, and challenges in order to determine the value you can provide.
Transition to questions and spend the bulk of your time investigating. Ask about the current situation: "Tell me about your workflow." Find out about any problems, challenges, or difficulties he has. Explore his answers by asking about the ramifications of these problems and the value of eliminating them.
Even though he asks, don't be tempted to talk about products. If you get caught in this trap, your chances of sales success decrease significantly. Graciously explain that product discussion is premature until you understand their needs better and get back to asking questions. Before you leave, share a few key benefits and suggest the logical next step.
This is what the top sellers do. They don't rush the sale and, as a result, they get the order. And quicker. Follow their example and you'll soon be enjoying the same success!
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