June 17, 2008
Productivity Tips Newsletter
Sales & Sales Management Tips
Problem: Billy was a commercial insurance salesperson. (Note he could be in any business from copiers to financial services). During his pipeline debrief with Mary the sales leader, Billy, described the inability to get a prospect to make a decision on a proposal he had given to convert the business. Billy provided some very attractive incentives to encourage his prospect to accept the proposal now, without success. Mary researched the prospect’s history and discovered the account’s insurance policy did not lapse for another 100 days.
Situation: Billy got activity confused with accomplishment. The reason Billy did that was the pressure from being behind in his quota for the month. Billy needed a quick fix. Instead of slowing down to speed up, Billy panicked and starting to qualify anyone who would talk to him. Billy got seduced by the prospect whose goal was to gather free advice on alternatives in the marketplace.
Salespeople are problem solvers and opportunity enhancers. Prospects share problems/opportunities with you based on trust. These issues will fall into one of two areas: fix it or forget it. Both categories have two dimensions: severity and timing. Of the two dimensions timing is weighted most heavily for urgency. It is like setting priorities for your day. Some priorities must be done today others could be done latter. As a salesperson you are looking for those priorities with a sense of urgency that “must be done now”. Since the policy lapse in Billy’s pipeline debrief was 100 days away this became a “could be done” issue. During the DNA Solution Selling class we classify these types of issues as constraints not barriers. Billy misread this and saw it as a barrier that only attractive and costly incentives could tear down.
Prescription: As part of the Decision Step in the DNA Solution Sales Pyramid you are taught to ask questions based on a decision matrix. Proper execution of the questioning and decision making tactic helps you understand the importance of timing the sales process to the prospects buying process. If you engage a prospect too soon for making a decision at the constraint level you lose their focus and attention. The result is you built your own barrier to sales success the objections you can not overcome. Remember the prospect’s issue or opportunity must be in the here and now and articulated as such from the prospect own words not your assumptions.
Here are three questions to clarify the struggle between constraints and real barriers which you can not get around
When do you need to make a decision? (to begin significant and measurable progress toward the goal you rightly deserve)
Why, is that date important?
What happens if you miss that date?
Having answers to these three questions will help you understand the prospects timing perfectly, so you can deliver your proposals and presentations at the right time.
Be carful using this approach. Our studies indicate that salespeople are not the most organized work force. The result is things such as getting back with prospects to discuss a constraint’s timing consistently falls through the cracks. Salespeople must learn how to date activate and the use of the proper tools to rapidly recall data. We recommend Working Smart Programs from Priority Management or a Contact Management System titled Landslide. Landslide is web based and without a doubt it is the most sophisticated and practical CRM solution available today.
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