Whenever I share the basic concept of “people love to buy, but they hate to be sold” small business owners always agree with it. But when you look at how the majority of small businesses go to the market and sell their products and services, they are always selling. Is this stupid behavior, or just because you don’t know any better?
Wouldn’t this kind of selling system be counter productive to the concept I just shared? So why would you insist on making things harder and going against the natural grain of you want to buy? Stupid is as stupid does as the great philosopher Forest Gump stated.
Think for a moment about how hard it is for you to sell when you make cold calls. You are calling someone who was not expecting your call, who was probably busy, and who hates getting cold calls. You probably have about a 6-15% success rate on a cold call, and that’s only to get an appointment. And these stats are for a skilled sales professional.
The other problem you have is the sick to your stomach feeling you get before you make your cold calls. If you’re lucky, you actually get to talk to someone instead of getting their voice mail. Voice mail is all about screening calls and avoiding sales people. There are many different schools of thought on voice mail, but I’ll save those tactics for another time.
When you get into your prospects office from this channel, you may find they have their selling defense walls up. These walls are very difficult to get past with traditional “show up and throw up” selling techniques. Let me share the first part of my process for helping your prospects buy instead of having to do the hard sell. Let’s face the facts, you don’t even like the hard sell technique, so stop it!
Remember what Forest said a moment ago about stupid is as stupid does.
Sell the way you buy
So if you understand the basic concept of “people love to buy, but hate to be sold” what do you need to do differently? Let’s pretend for this example that you have moved your prospect from the stages of knowing, and liking you, to the point of sitting down face to face with you. The whole point of sitting down and meeting with your prospects is to diagnose their current situation.
I’m going to share my doctor analogy with you. The doctor analogy is for you to diagnose your prospects problems and goals, and then prescribe a plan of action to fix the problems and achieve their goals. This simple process will help you utilize the system of helping your prospects buy, versus using all of your energy to sell them.
Diagnosing the situation
If you follow my blog, or read my articles you may be aware of my process I refer to as the “Mini-Strategic Plan.” There are five basic parts to “Mini-Strategic Plan” or what I’m going to refer to as MSP going forward in the rest of this article.
The first step is to identify where your prospect is today, and how they got to this point. This helps you identify your starting point with your prospect.
The second step is to identify where your prospect is trying to go. This is where you have your prospect share their goals. I often ask my prospects questions related to where they want to be in the be in a 1, 3 and 5 year time frame. This will help you and your prospect achieve clarity on the expectations of where they want to go if you decide to do business together.
The third step is to have your prospect share the obstacles that they are currently running into, or that they anticipate running into on the way to achieving their goals. This will morph into a conversation about “What is keeping them up at night” as it relates to your product or service.
The fourth step is a nice transition from the third step, and get’s into sharing the consequences your prospect is experiencing or anticipating. This fourth step also prompts you to ask the question, “Do you have to fix your problem?” You may find out that your prospect is just looking at what solutions are available in the market place, but is not really that serious about investing in your product or service at this point.
The fifth step is to identify your prospects “Want” factor, or what’s in it for them if they achieve their goals. When you understand what is really driving them, it helps you plan the best way to help them achieve their goals. The fifth step is also probably the first time your prospect has ever verbally stated what they get or what they really want. This is a major step for your prospect to share this and hear themselves saying it out loud.
Only 3% of the population has written goals and a plan to achieve them. When your prospect has a chance to share their goals out loud with you, this is a very powerful moment where you achieve even more rapport with your prospect.
The majority of the companies and sales people you will compete against in the market place will stay intellectual during their sales processes. What I mean by this is they stay with the old school features and benefits selling. There is a time and place for you to use features and benefits, but you’re not there at this point in your diagnosis process. Features and benefits are generally a very intellectual side of selling.
Sorry if you’re an engineer and I just burst your bubble. My engineer friends love features and benefits.
The fifth step in the “MSP” is what get’s you to the emotional reasons they want and need your product or service. The emotions drive the sale. Get the emotions, get the sale.
Take 30-minutes each week to review if you’re selling, or helping your prospects buy. It should be a pretty easy process to review your sales calls each week and figure out what you did.
If you follow the five steps I shared with you, your prospect diagnosis will be much more effective.
You now have no reason to engage in stupid selling behavior anymore either. Remember the words of Forest Gump as you engage your prospects and clients when selling, and make it easy for them to buy instead.
Go and conquer!