Friday, May 27, 2011

Tell Me Where it Hurts!

OK, you've gotten yourself in the door, so I assume you've researched your prospect and done some initial qualifying. If you are sitting across the desk from him/her, you must have done something that intrigued them enough to see you. You know who they are, what they do, who they compete with and how they market their brand. You also know they utilize a product comparable to yours and they might need some of the features and benefits that your product offers. So how do you find out if they'll buy from you or not?

This is where you have to accomplish the deep qualifying necessary to demonstrate to them that you understand their business and more importantly, how your product can be of service to them. It's sometimes called searching for pain. The prospect may not be aware that they are suffering; they may not know there is a solution to one or more of their problems; they may think they've done their job as well as they possibly can and they don't need you. But, you’ve convinced them to see you, so now it's time to go to work!

How do you find the pain without overtly telling them they are sick? This is where you become the doctor and convince them of the value in participating in a wellness check-up. They may not even be looking for a cure or know that they have a problem that requires relief. The pain can be caused by anything; maybe they're spending too much money on their current solution, maybe their requirements have changed and they need to add on, or maybe their current solution is not living up to expectations! But, it is always about solving a problem that is causing them some kind of headache. You just have to discover what it is and have them agree that they are in pain.

Deep Qualifying Stage
You, being the savvy and experienced salesperson who knows your product inside and out, your competitors inside and out and how your product fits into your prospect's business, can now start the consultative sales process. Now you may suggest that you have a conversation about their current plans, vendors, needs, budgets and upcoming changes that will  help you determine if you can assist them or not. Before you begin this process you must know the questions you want to ask to start and keep the ball rolling. The questions should be designed to bring out as much information as possible, lead the prospect to certain conclusions and cause the prospect to question whether they are being as efficient and effective as they can be with their current vendor’s solution. The more conversational this wellness check up is, the better. Let them do the talking!

In one of the sales organizations I led some years ago we used a ten point qualifier developed by our top salesperson. It had ten questions the salesperson would ask and each answer would have a value attached to it. For instance one of the probing questions was about our competition and asked; what solution are you using now? The prospect would answer the question (Competitor A) and we would know what numerical value to place on the answer because we knew how we stacked up against Competitor A. So, on a scale of 1-10 the answer value might’ve been a 6; then the next question would work the same way. By the end of the wellness check up we were able to average the answer values and if the prospect came out to a 7.5 or above, that meant they were well qualified for our solution. If not, we would tell them we probably couldn't help them and move on. Sometimes it got pretty humorous because some of the prospects that failed to qualify would ask to take the "test" again to see if we might stay and help them.

If you embrace the wellness check-up style of selling you will become a trusted consultant instead of just another pesky salesperson. You won't waste your time or your prospect's and you will create loyal customers and be very successful. Knowledge and sincerity sell, but that's another lesson.

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Mike Feeley

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