Here’s the scenario: One of your salespeople just came to you and said that they’ve got a hot prospect that wants to buy from your company right away. He tells you the prospect contacted him, and they say they’re really interested. They are giving off all of the right “buying signals”. He says all he has to do is put together a proposal and email it to the prospect and they’ll make a decision quick. Sounds like a slam dunk opportunity, right?
You tell him to get the quote together and let you know when the deal is done. You think to yourself, “That was a solid piece of advice I just gave there.”
Whoa, champ – let’s put the brakes on and think this through for a minute.
Let’s ask ourselves a few questions to put this opportunity into perspective:
- What do you or your salesperson really know about the prospect?
- Is the person your salesperson is talking to the real decision maker? How do they know?
- Why did the prospect reach out to your salesperson to start with?
- What problem(s) are they hoping your product or service will solve? Why is this even a problem that they need help with?
- What’s compelling them to get this fixed and why right now?
- What happens if it doesn’t get fixed? Does life go on as is without any big interruptions for them or is there no other choice but to get this fixed?
- Can they even afford the solution your salesperson is going to offer them?
- How do they begin to make a decision on this? What process and criteria are they using for the decision? When does the decision get made?
- How about competition? If they’re talking to your company, there’s a high likelihood that they’re talking to your competitors.
- Once your salesperson quotes them, what happens after that?
This slam dunk doesn’t look like such a sure thing now, does it?
A lot of this is driven by you and your team getting excited about what appears, on the surface, to be an easy opportunity to close. Your team rushes to close the deal before you really understand the prospect and what’s driving the opportunity. They start to skip steps in your sales process because it seems so easy. They don’t slow down and dig deep to ask the questions above so they can qualify it properly and make sure they understand the real problems the prospect needs help with. They don't know if it makes sense to have them as a customer for your company.
What’s the worst that can happen, you ask? Here are a few of the outcomes from this scenario that can happen once your salesperson emails that quote to the prospect. Let me know how many of them sound familiar to you.
- Prospect stops responding and “goes dark”. Your salesperson begins chasing and stalking the prospect and wastes a ton of time on this opportunity that will eventually go nowhere.
- Prospect says the price is too high and begins trying to negotiate the price down.
- Prospect says, “Thank you for your time and the quote, but we’ve decided to go another direction.”
- Prospect says, “Thank you for your time and the quote, but we’ve decided to stay with the company we’re using now.”
- Prospect says, “We need to think this over before we make a decision on this." ("Think it over"s are really slow "no"s in disguise.)
If this sounds familiar to you, STOP THE MADNESS and break the pattern with your people and your prospects!
You need to get your people to slow down earlier in the sales process to go faster later when getting decisions from prospects.
Get your people to ask these questions and truly qualify the prospect and the opportunity to determine if it even makes sense to spend the time and effort to quote the opportunity.