Written by Sean McPheat |
2 July, 2019
We often encounter prospects who are comfortable.
By that, I mean they are happy with their current situation and don’t want, or need, to change their perspective. In these situations, salespeople often find it difficult to progress the conversation. They see the obstacle of ‘the comfort zone’ as being a major obstacle in working with the potential buyer.
It also is a fair reason for them to return to base and explain to their manager that there is no potential here, so let’s move on.
Bit is that always the case? Could it be possible that if we were to dig a little deeper with the prospect, we could see chances to build a relationship and maybe educate them on new ideas and different perspectives for their business?
This is the essence of the new sales process as we see it: the opportunity to share insights and observations with prospects so they see their world from a different perspective.
Here are some ways we can offer that insight and help potential clients to see things from another angle.
1) Be curious about their current position
Why did they choose the strategies that they did? How did they get to the position they are now in? You’re simply curious to find out their buying motivations and the direction they are taking their business.
At this point, you are in the mindset of enquiry and collaboration, not judgement. You are simply ascertaining if there may be a better way in the future to obtain even better results than they’re getting at present.
2) How would you like to see the future?
This enables you to assess which journey they would like to choose in the future. ‘How’ questions get people thinking about a future reality. Maybe they have strong reasons as to why they want to do something, but maybe they are unsure as to ‘how’ to get there.
You can help them solve particular problems. You can assist them in developing their market. You can show them what changes may need to take place in order for them to achieve their future goals.
3) Have you considered….?
This deep-thinking question gets the prospect to open up to new ideas, possibly not considered previously. It enables the discussion to go in a direction that eliminates the impossible and accentuates the possible. Your insightful ideas may well get the prospect to consider alternatives to the way they’ve always done things.
Also, you highlight ideas that make the prospect think of solutions previously unconsidered. Your education in terms of new ideologies may well open their mind to new initiatives.
4) What’s missing at the moment?
This question gets potential buyers to assess where they are at the moment and analyse if there could be better times on the horizon. Your attitude here has to be in educating them on what’s possible for their business. You don’t need to discuss products or services; you do need to discuss where the potentials lie for their business in the future.
By highlighting what might be missing at the moment in their business plan or their future journey, you get them thinking about the opportunities that might exist soon. But they won’t if they don’t take your advice.
Remember, when you ask questions of a buyer, you lead them to think about the future in a different way. Being comfortable is, in essence, a stagnation of development, because there is no pain or gain associated with changing.
Also, you’ll know there are only two ways to connect with another person; either through advocacy, where you suggest, recommend or endorse a course of action, or enquiry, where you get the other person to build the reasons why something should be done.
When you educate the buyer with new ideas and perspectives through great questioning skills, you build reasons in their mind to change their future for the better, and that offers you the chance to bring them out of their comfortable mindset and into the change mentality from which everything can grow accordingly.