marketing+sales: The Salesperson's Handbook
Veteran salespeople know that while every customer is unique, the obstacles to a sale are often the same. Once you understand these obstacles and how to overcome them, you will have all of the tools you need to make the sale.
Obstacle 1: Identifying the Decision Maker(s)
It's common for salespeople to focus solely on their initial contact at an organization. Whether that person is a mid-level manager or an HR executive, he or she is probably not the only person involved in the proposal process. The challenge is figuring out who the other decision makers are and how you can meet with them. In order to get this information, ask your current contact the following questions:
- What is your time frame for making a final decision?
- What criteria will you be evaluating to make the best decision?
- What measurable outcomes are you looking to achieve?
Obstacle 2: Uncovering the Budget
Nothing derails a deal faster than a mismatch between your proposal and the customer's budget. Unfortunately, prospects are often reluctant to discuss their budgets with salespeople. It is your job to press them further to get a number, or at the very least, a range of what their budget is for the project. There are two ways to make this happen.
One is to politely—but firmly—suggest that prospects determine their budget prior to soliciting bids. Stress the importance of an advance figure, and express your interest in receiving it before you reconnect. This approach puts the focus on the prospects. It shows that you care about them and their financial security.
The second option is to frame the interaction as if you're recommending a program that best suits your prospect's needs and expectations, and express how budget parameters can shape the direction for both parties.