You’ve been through your sales training. You’ve been prequalifying your prospects. And you’ve been listening to your prospects’ answers. If you’re still not closing at the rate you want, here’s what you should try next.
The Expert Customer
As Andrea Grodnitzky, Richardson’s chief marketing officer, so succinctly puts it in a recent Selling Power column, the world is now full of expert customers. They’ve gone online and read white papers and listened to podcasts. Maybe they’ve even brought an in-house expert to your meeting — whether it’s online or in person. And this person seems to have a strong negative opinion about what you’re selling, as well as a big influence on the decision makers you’ve been working with.
Your Expert Answer
This situation should raise a big red flag in your mind. Luckily, Grodnitzky has a great suggestion. You can save this sale by "shaping" your prospects’ thinking.
Grodnitzky reminds sales reps that “most customers tend to hold deeply ingrained beliefs.” For example, if you’re selling cloud services, you may run into prospects who will tell you it’s too risky for them to trust an offsite service with their data.
At this point, you need to assure your prospect that you’re on their side. They reached out to you to solve a problem. You want to help them solve that problem.
In this case, they may be feeling pain from the cost of maintaining an on-site data center. Acknowledge their pain, then explain the various safeguards your organization uses to secure the data and sensitive information that your cloud service manages. Deliver your opinion based on your specific observations in the marketplace. While the prospects have formed their opinions based on their research, they’ll be open to listening to you when you show them that you’re trying to help as opposed to just pushing your product.
To get a sense of their response to your explanation, ask for feedback. A question like, “What are your thoughts on this approach?” gets them thinking. Their responses will let you know where you need to do additional education.
With so many expert prospects in today’s marketplace, sales reps need to draw on new skills to close the deal. The ability to “shape thinking” is one of these skills.