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Small Compass Sound Sales: What’s Going On In Your Prospect’s Mind

By Mark McGlinchey - Written by Compass Group Solutions Founder Mark McGlinchey, this article first appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal

There are questions, or concerns, in your prospect’s mind which can shortcircuit your selling cycle. Often, your prospect won’t ask you these questions – perhaps, they won’t even consciously think think about them. However, these concerns must be resolved if they are going to buy from you.

Will your product or service solve the problem?

It goes without saying that your prospect must believe your product or service will solve their problem. However, all too often, salespeople spend their time unnecessarily pitching product knowledge. The usual methodology is to talk the product’s features and benefits to death at the expense of other critical steps in the selling process. Frequently, salespeople repeatedly present the facts about their product. Continually pontificating about the features and benefits of products or services, can actually muddy the waters. Once they are convinced your product or service is viable, the prospect may find the additional facts, features and benefits to be boring, irrelevant and a waste of their time. Give the prospect only enough facts, features and benefits to demonstrate that your product will solve their problem. If the prospect wants more information, they will ask for it. Don’t fall into the feature and benefit trap.

Is it worth the investment?

All prospects weigh the cost or investment in a product or service against the benefits. In MBA 101, this is referred to as the cost to benefit ratio and it is a logical, financial evaluation of the products or services you offer. The investment consists of purchase price, future dollars or maintenance cost, and intangible dollars. The cost to benefit ratio issue can be simplified by asking: Is it more economical to continue to live with the problem? Or, can we justify the expense to solve the problem? This discussion is always taking place behind the scenes within the prospect’s organization. Unfortunately, this same conversation may not be going on with the salesperson, which leaves them in the dark about the status of financially justifying the purchase. Salespeople can dramatically increase their closing percentage if they would roll up their sleeves and do more work with the prospect in the area of cost to benefit ratio.

Will my associates and my organization approve of this decision?

Peer or organizational approval is an hidden objection that can prolong the decision process. Often, decision makers will seek the input of others within the organization and may even form a committee to examine a major purchase. They will never admit this to you, but they do it for one reason and one reason only. They don’t want to lose alone. If a purchase a product or service turns out to be a bad decision, they want to be able to spread the accountability around and not have all of the blame pointed at them. Occasionally, you may find a prospect who will purchase products or services without being overly concerned about their peers’ opinions. This is the exception, not the rule. If you want to make more sales, get the peer and organizational approval issue out on the table. If you don’t, this can be a silent sales killer.

Do I need the product or service now?

When there is not a sense of urgency for the prospect to solve a problem, they will postpone both decision and action. Every prospect has many ‘wants and needs’ competing for their budgetary resources (money.) Prospects rarely have a list prioritizing their wants and needs, or an action plan to deal with them. A salesperson’s strongest competition may not be a competitor within their industry, but rather other projects or problems within the organization may have a higher priority than what you are selling. It is imperative for salespeople to intensify the pain or illuminate the problem to create a sense of urgency. It is also important to work with the prospect in order to set decision and implementation timelines, and to hold them to those timelines. As a salesperson, you should adopt the slogan “Time kills deals.”

The next time a selling cycle begins with a prospect, keep these four questions in mind. Will your product or service solve the problem? Is it worth the investment? Will my associates and my organization approve of this decision? Do I need the product or service now? Remember, these issues will be on your prospect’s mind – whether they come up openly in conversation or not. If you aren’t answering these questions or resolving these concerns, your chances of making a sale greatly diminish.


Keywords: Insides Sales Prospects' Minds, Time Kills Deals, Selling to Organizations, Selling Products and Services, Sales Tips, Sales Professional Development, Sales Leadership Development, Sales Management Tips, Sound Sales, Sales Consulting, Compass Group Solutions, Mark McGlinchey

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