As the title suggests this is the first in a series of blogs looking at sales dilemmas. If you have a particular dilemma or topic you would like me to cover in the future then please let me know.
In this piece I will answer the following question…
“It’s a perfect solution so why didn’t the customer buy?”
As well as being a sales strategist, trainer and coach I am also a businessman. I therefore need to buy in products and services to help me run and grow my business. As a result I get lots of chances to observe sales people in action. On the whole I have to say I am impressed with the vast majority of salespeople that I interact with as a business client. However there is a flaw that very few have the understanding, foresight and ability to overcome.
Let me explain…
They have built good rapport and are likeable. They are knowledgeable in their field and very credible. They have done a great ‘fact find’ & offered me a brilliant solution to a need or ‘pain point’ that my business clearly has. They have proven the return on investment by using case studies and yet, despite all of this I politely decline. No sale is made, why?
The answer is quite simple, although I would benefit from what they offer it is not the most pressing issue in my business right now. I only have so much working capital and the funds are earmarked for other, more pressing investments.
Those of you that own houses will know there is ALWAYS something that needs doing. Some are maintenance chores often too small to get someone in. Others could be major concerns like getting the roof fixed. Unless you have unlimited wealth you will need to prioritise what get’s done first. It is the same in a business.
Brilliant sales people will find out through effective questioning exactly what my business priorities are. The reason they do this is that it may be possible to influence me to ‘reorder’ them and move their solution to the top of my list. If they can clearly see however, that my other priorities really are more pressing concerns, to continue to push their solution is quite frankly stupid. Yet so many do just that.
They ruin all their hard work as I now see that their primary concern is for THEM and their needs, not mine!
When it is clear I won’t budge they suggest that I call them when my other issues are resolved and I am ready to move forwards. They return to the office and confidently add me to their sales pipeline forecast for a few months ahead.
In reality I will never make that call, why would I deal with someone that cares more about them than me? I will implement the solution at some point but with another supplier!
If a client needs your solution but has more pressing issues to solve first, then why not help them to solve those issues first. Do you have business connections that could help? Do you have knowledge (beyond the scope of your product knowledge) that could help them? Has another of your clients experienced the same thing, can you connect them to see if they can advise?
If you think about it, it makes perfect business sense, the sooner I fix my most pressing issue(s), the sooner I can move forward with the one you are trying to sell me! If you assist me in fixing my top priorities first you demonstrate a willingness to help, you demonstrate expertise beyond the confines of your own ‘niche’. Above all you demonstrate to me that you genuinely care about my business.
When you do this, I WILL do business with you.
Thank you for reading.
Stuart Allen FCMI FInstSMM