Sometimes in sales, we're so focused on our agenda that we fail to understand the prospect's buying process. E. Nigma was so busy trying to "close" Bruce Wayne that he tried to short-cut the process and dismissed Bruce's offer to schedule a meeting to explore his ideas.
How often does this happen to the rest of us? Like it or not, prospects have a buying process and they buy for their reasons, not ours. If you try to skip an important step in their process and push them to a decision, their answer will always be the same: "No Thanks." While I'm not trying to discourage you from closing the sale, it's important to understand how and why the prospect will buy.
I was recently contacted by a salesperson about a partnership where my company would resell his sales tool. After a short call together, I told him I'd like to share the tool with my clients and gauge their feedback. He followed up a week later and I told him the first few clients weren't interested but I was willing to show the tool to others and see if they felt differently. During this time, I was traveling overseas and my schedule was packed with competing priorities.
When the salesperson emailed me, I replied on my iPhone and told him I had not gotten an opportunity to speak to additional clients. He responded by emailing, "Let's call it a no. With no commitment on your end it's not surprising that your conversations are ending with little interest from your clients."
Where did this salesperson go wrong (other than the obvious, insulting comment)? Here's how Batman would have handled the situation:
- I had a buying process but the Rep ignored it. Why didn't he offer to host a call with one of my clients to show them his sales tool? I doubt I could explain it as well as he could.
- He failed to create enough value and interest in the front end of the sale. As a result, it was not a big priority for me.
- He never asked any questions. For example, "What can I do to help you present this to your clients?" OR "What would you need to see happen to make this partnership worth your time?"
- He gave up too early. There's a difference between "no action" and "slow action." In my case, I wasn't in a hurry to move this forward but I was still engaged.
- He didn't have a plan to move me beyond a "casual prospect." His only plan was to keep calling and asking for the sale. In these situations, Batman would have started a Lead Nurturing Campaign to educate the prospect and build interest.