By, Andrea Pirrotti
My mother loves to tell me stories about the early stages of dating my father. About three weeks into their courting my father took my mother to a business function. There she was, a young woman engaging with her new man in an unfamiliar setting. And, to top it off some other woman in a ravishing outfit was flirting with her date! She was a fish out of water and feeling uneasy. Rather than falling prey to her insecurities she assumed the role of the person she wanted to be – the wife of her new man, and a partner in their success. She reminded me of this story a week before I started my first job right out of college. She told me to dress the part of the leader I wanted to be – right down to carrying a briefcase (no laptop bags then) even if I had nothing to hold in it. Assume the sale.
Clearly the same idea applies to sales. I typically go into businesses to transform revenue performance. The first thing that I do is drill down very granularly on the sales process. I’m literally cc’d on every email that goes out so that I can experience what the prospect is experiencing – live time. I also listen to calls (a lot of calls). I engage in the process. I walk the path myself (from the customer standpoint), and assume the actual sales role myself. What I observe when conversion is low is that the sales person does not take control and guide the engagement to close the business – (s)he does not assume the sale.
How do you assume the sale? Well, I have a practical approach. Here’s what works for me and the teams I coach. First, start with the prize in mind. The prize is providing a solution to a pain point that the prospect shares with you. Second, establish an agenda for the discussion. Let the prospect know what is going to happen during your conversation, how long it will take, and what will happen at the end (he will purchase if you can fulfill his needs). You lead the sales process – don’t ever let the salesperson lead the process. Third, develop questions that will uncover the prospect’s pain point. Having a great conversation and building rapport is not enough to do a deal. You must solve your prospective buyer’s problem. If you can’t solve a problem you can’t fulfill a need and you won’t close the deal. Fourth, continue with your thought-leadership position and offer a solution. Fifth, ask for the business. Finally, assume the sale (close the business).
My mom was able to relax and enjoy her evening with my dad during that business dinner because she already assumed the prize. When you assume the sale the entire tenor of the conversation that you have with your prospective buyer changes. You’re more in control, your more relaxed, the discussion becomes conversational – as though you are guiding a friend. The buyer feels more at ease – more comfortable. You close the deal – because you’ve already envisioned to be so.
The next time you are in a position to sell – start with the end in mind. Assume you’re already there – the experience and the results will amaze you.
If you need help with lead generation and conversion let us know. We got you covered.
By, Andrea Pirrotti
Photo courtesy of our son, Johnny A. Dranchak @ the Pebble Beach Car Show 2016.