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Prospects Aren’t Really Prospects
Guest articles > Prospects Aren’t Really Prospects
by: Sharon Drew Morgen
Sales has a goal: find a prospect with a need and sell a solution. You can call it anything you want, use all of the fancy terms about serving your client, be a Trusted Advisor or a Relationship Manager, do whatever you can to understand need and make nice. But at the end of the day, your job as a seller is to place your solution.
Unfortunately, we do it the long, hard way: we assume – and this is a baseline assumption in the sales industry – that when we notice a ‘need’ that our solution can fulfill, we have a prospect. Yet we consistently close 7% of our ‘prospects.’ Obviously our assumption that a prospect with a need which our solution can resolve is a specious assumption.
A NEED DOESN’T MEAN A PURCHASE
What we forget is that the ‘need’ has been sitting in a buyer’s environment (I call it their system) for some time. Sitting somewhat comfortably, or it would have been fixed already. Not only that, but the environment has created work-arounds – jobs, rules, relationships – that keep the ‘need’ in place daily. It’s most likely not sitting there waiting for you to come along and fix it. And unfortunately, sales treats the identified problem as if it were an isolated event.
But we show up, assuming because there is some sort of lack that our solution can resolve, that we have a prospect. We do everything we can to get in, find ‘the decision makers,’ understand, promote, pitch, and promise. But it doesn’t work, because the prospect may not be a prospect.
In order for a prospect to make a purchase, they would have to change something – most probably a string of somethings. They would need to get buy-in to do something different. They would need to be willing to change a few things around, and have the ‘things’ be ready, willing, and able to change (For example before you got a gym membership you’d have to be willing to get up earlier, eat healthier, get your wife to walk the dog, take lunch to work, etc. It’s a system that behaves like a house of cards.).
How can you determine if a seeming prospect – a person or group with a lack that your solution fulfils – is really a prospect? S/he may not know either, and may tell you there is no need when with just some decision facilitation they can recognize the need. But to do that, they’d have to consider the internal change issues first. After all, this is the very first thing a prospect considers well before they actually consider buying anything. And sales doesn’t manage it.
Use Buying Facilitation? to help your prospects determine how they’d move forward toward change. Show them how to determine how to get buy-in
Check out Sharon Drew Morgen's new book: Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.
Or consider purchasing the bundle: Dirty Little Secrets plus my last book Buying Facilitation?: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. These books were written to be read together, as they offer the full complement of concepts to help you learn and understand Buying Facilitation? - the new skill set that gives you the ability to lead buyers through their buying decisions.
Contributor: Sharon Drew Morgen
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