You’re walking down a street in your home town and you have some time on your hands so you are window shopping. You stop suddenly, transfixed by the fabulous shoes in the store window. Being a great fan of fabulous shoes, you feel drawn to go into the store.
At the store entrance your path is blocked by a sales clerk who demands: “Are you going to buy shoes from us today?”
If you are like most, you’ll respond, “Huh?” Possibly you’ll say, “Well I don’t know yet.” If the store clerk then persists in asking, “Are you going to buy shoes from us today?” what is the likelihood that you will continue on into the store to buy shoes? Slim to none.
Unfortunately, this is the type of scenario that many sales professionals set up for themselves when they are prospecting. On that first call with a new prospect, you are not asking that prospect to make a buying decision, (“Are you going to buy shoes from us today?”) you are simply asking the prospect to have a conversation (look at some shoes). Yes, ideally you want your prospect to buy, however, that comes later.
Here’s an example from a script I was sent recently to review:
“Hello (Prospect’s Name). I’m calling to find out if you are happy with your current vendor.”
Few prospects, unless they are absolutely miserable, will answer “No, I’m not happy,” to that question. When faced with this type of question, even prospects that are unhappy with their vendor will tell you they are perfectly content. This “are you happy” question is exactly like asking a prospect “are you going to buy from us today?” at the entrance to the store. It backfires and gets you the answer that you don’t want.
Look at your process. Determine a set of small and manageable goals for each conversation. This will help you lead your prospect step by step through your sales process to arrive at the other end with the sale.