When the prospect invites you in to make a presentation you can count on a finite number of potential possibilities.
- The prospect has a compelling need and wants to correct an issue that is having a negative impact on their company.
- The prospect has one of your competitors servicing them and your prospect is either checking out the providers pricing or is dissatisfied with the incumbent and wants to switch to someone else.
- The prospect is taking a new direction and is looking to your industry as a provider.
In any of these cases the prospect is doing what they do for their own reasons.
One of the ways you can be requested to provide your product or services is by providing a quote.
I am working with a client that believed they were a commodity. When I spoke with the sales force they believed they had to have the best price to win sales and business. They were quoting their brains out and getting a low close ratio.
In one of our meetings I introduced the concept of A Compelling Reason to Buy. The sales people were reluctant to accept the concept and said their customers buy on price.
On my next visit with the president he had selected four prospects in the area. Our meeting went like this.
Client: “My sales people don’t buy into this A Compelling Reason to Buy. I picked our four prospects in the area we are going on the road and cold calling.”
Al: “That’s fine I will do the calls and you just watch.”
Client: “Let’s go.”
Prospect call # 1-When we called on the first prospect the gentleman came out said he didn’t have time to talk with us. After I made my compelling statement he stayed for fifteen minutes. We confirmed he had a compelling reason to buy from us and not just price.
Prospect call # 2 – The prospect told us they were tired of the company they were dealing with and would definitely buy from us. This prospect was purchasing over $2,000,000 of product a year.
Prospect # 3- This prospect was twenty minutes from my clients warehouse and had never heard of my client and typically purchased around $250,000 of my clients product from the competition and said they would buy.
Prospect #4- This prospect was out of business or had moved.
Now, here is the secret strategy of how to uncover a compelling reason.
On each of the sales calls my approach was the same. The only time I changed the approach was dependent on who I Spoke with. For example if it was the owner I started with… “Whenever I speak with owners… or Whenever I speak with Project Managers… or Whenever I speak with Purchasing agents.”
Here is a sample of the approach I took when the prospect and I were together.
Al: “Mr. Business owner I would like to ask you to participate in a one question survey I am conducting.
So you can make a decision to participate or not I would like to let you know what the question is so you can make a decision whether to participate or not. Is that ok?”
Prospect: “What is the question?”
Al: “Whenever I speak with business owners they tell me without exception that when they receive their deliveries of XYZ product they receive items they did not order, some of the items ordered are not delivered and are on back order or quantities are incorrect. Does any of that resonate with you?”
On all three cold calls I get the same responses in a variety of ways.
ü Are you kidding, all the time
ü It happens at least twice a month
When I asked if that caused any inconvience or additional cost I was told,
Prospect: “ I had a crew of ten workers waiting for over an hour to do their work because I did not get all the items for the job. At $125.00 per hour per laborer it cost me $ 1250.00 dollars and then I had to pay them over time to do the work when I was able to get the materials.”
Al: “Would you have been willing to pay a little higher price and know that would never happen again?”
Prospect: “I would. I would actually be saving money on my labor cost and it would be worth it not to have that head ache.”
Prospect: “Sure, it isn’t just the labor cost. My customer gets upset because we fall behind on our work that puts everyone else behind and then we get charged for being off schedule. We also run the risk of injuries on the job due to overtime which affects our safety record.”
So there you have it. Even when it looks like you have to sell on price you may not have to.
When my client and I drove back to the office he had a better understanding of his prospects and how his sales staff could stop selling on price and become a value added provider, capture new business opportunities without dropping price, increase sales volume, market share and outpace the competition.