by Anneli Thomson, Managing Director, April 2014
Hope for the best. Look on the bright side. These are good motivational one-liners. They are not good strategies for developing selling opportunities.
While hoping for the best is admirable, identifying and planning for all possibilities will better prepare you to develop and close more opportunities... more quickly. Prospects will frequently try to stall the process and objections are bound to surface. If you are prepared to deal with these roadblocks, then you will have the strategies to deal with them. The sooner you deal with these potential roadblocks, the sooner you can close the sales or, if the roadblock is immovable, close the file and move on to a more viable opportunity.
In any situation where there is an exchange of information, questions will be asked. Are you prepared in advance with what to do next? And if you ask a question what might happen? I believe one key word in sales is anticipation. Have you visualized what the conversation will be? When asked any question the response can be either positive or negative. What have you prepared in each situation? If you don’t have an appropriate response or get caught unprepared, you may be in big trouble.
Hope may spring eternal, but planning for the worst case scenario (and how to turn it around) will take you to the bank. Having a system to craft good questions is essential for a successful career in business development. If you truly want to differentiate yourself from the other forty people standing in line to sell the prospect it’s imperative you get more and detailed information about the prospect’s problems. It can’t simply be the discovery they need a widget that you happen to sell. Your questioning skills must include the business reasons for their concern. What are the rewards of fixing the problem and an understanding of how much (in dollars) it will help the organization. Are you prepared with well-crafted questions to get these answers?
And how is this problem affecting them personally? Is it merely an annoyance that really isn’t that important or is this an issue that affects their ability to get to sleep at night, stops company growth or the size of their pay cheque?
In professional selling we don’t create the prospect’s pain but with well-planned questions we can uncover that pain and how serious it is. The more serious the problem, the greater likelihood that you have a real business opportunity.
Continuing to do what you are doing will keep you where you are. As always, it is your choice to do something.