marketing & sales: Make Decisions Easier for Your Prospects
Crazy-busy prospects can't handle complexity. They hate it when things are difficult to decode or decide. It grinds them to a screeching halt, which is the normal human reaction to being overwhelmed and stressed out.
As a seller, your job is to make things easier and minimize the effort for your frazzled prospects.
Here are some strategies you can use to help unburden your prospects:
Augment, Don't Replace. Your prospects already use something or someone to address their needs. You can make it a whole lot easier for them to get buy-in for your product or service by positioning it as an "add on" to an existing program, process or technology.
By coexisting with the status quo, you can get your foot in the door without encountering a major battle. Once you're in, you can work to expand your relationship and win additional business.
Sometimes your "competitors" are internal staff whose number one concern is job loss. I knew this was going to be a major obstacle recently when I proposed a new idea to a prospect. So I dealt with it head on.
First, I showed them how we could bring much-needed services to an underserved customer demographic. They loved it. Then, I talked about leveraging outside resources to "jump-start" the new program. And, I clearly stated that the ultimate goal was to turn it over to their IT as soon as possible. Not only did I avoid an insurrection, but I quickly got their support because it provided them with more job security. Augmentation is good. It simplifies and speeds up the decision process.
Think and Act Small. If your prospects like what you've proposed, they'll want to get it approved as soon as possible. However, big ideas with big budgets are riskier and require more buy-in. As a result, they're harder to get through the system. When you start losing momentum, your whole proposal is at risk.
So even if you have a big idea, be realistic with your prospects. Talk about starting small. Show them how you can get started, demonstrate your success and build from there. For example, you could:
• Propose an initial assessment to understand the scope of the problem.
• Tackle a small problem where you could demonstrate immediate short-term results.
• Focus on bringing in just one of your products, services or solutions.
• Suggest a change in only one of the departments or a single facility.
Going for the whole shebang at once makes things more difficult. And when you're working with frayed customers, that's a setup for having your opportunity get derailed, delayed or dismissed forever.
But once you get your foot in the door, the hardest part is over. If you do a good job on your initial piece of business, it will be logical for your prospect to move to the next stage with your company.
Root Out All Complexity. In many cases, your prospects don't know what to look for or how to decide. If things get complicated, they'll quit.
That's why it's imperative for you and your company to ask these questions all the time:
• At which point do our prospects tip into overwhelm?
• What complexities grind decisions to a halt?
• How can we minimize decision-making risk?
Discuss these questions with your colleagues. Observe what happens in conversations with your prospects. Talk to your existing customers to get their feedback.
(Excerpted from SNAP Selling)
By Jill Konrath
Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling (#1 Amazon sales book) and Selling to Big Companies, a Fortune "must read" selection. As a frequent speaker at sales conferences, she helps sellers speed up sales cycles and win big contracts. For more fresh sales strategies that work with today's crazy-busy prospects and to get four free sales-accelerating tools, visit www.snapselling.com.