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Finding a prospect vs. creating a prospect

Submitted by on Wednesday, 23 February 2011
  • You place a call to get through to the decision maker.
  • You call to find someone who needs your product or service.
  • You try to get an appointment.
  • You analyze names to do lead scoring based on demographics, company size, job title.

PLAYING A NUMBERS GAME

What are you doing? You’re trying to find those 10 leads out of 100 that will even consider a conversation in which you can possibly place a solution. You’re playing a numbers game: Who’s The Prospect.

Unless the person is 1. sitting and waiting for you to call; 2. seeking an external provider – and you called at the exact right time and they are/aren’t talking to others; 3. convinced that none of their vendors or colleagues can manage the problem for them, they will ignore or reject your outreach. And they might be an appropriate prospect.

What’s the difference between finding a prospect with a need, or helping a prospect discover if they need – and can buy – your solution?

When you’re just calling to ‘get your foot in the door’ or get someone to talk so you can ‘ask a few questions’, the only people who will respond are those already seeking a different solution. This obviously puts you in a competitive situation immediately. And off you go, merrily trying to convince, manipulate, or influence.

THOSE WHO WON’T SPEAK TO YOU NEED YOU

But what about all of the others – the 90%+ who won’t speak to you? Do they not need your solution? Of course they do. But your approach precludes them buying anything.

Those who are not starting a discussion with you

  1. don’t want an appointment, or see the need for an appointment, or see the need to do anything different (regardless of whether they have a need or not);
  2. may have a recognized need but are getting push back from those who would touch the solution and don’t know how to manage any required change;
  3. may have a need but are considering internal options and have not yet decided to use an external resource
  4. have buying patterns different from your selling patterns and don’t like your approach.

By focusing on finding a prospect who will hear you discuss your solution, willing to spend time to see you, or is willing to offer you data about their status quo, you are eliminating over 90% of those folks who could buy from you (regardless of whether you are selling a service or a product).

HELPING SOMEONE CHOOSE SOMETHING NEW

People buy something when they cannot resolve a business problem AND they have gotten appropriate buy-in from those folks and departments who will be involved with a new solution AND whose buying patterns match a seller’s selling patterns (Remember telemarketing? Their solutions were fine – it was their selling patterns that were problematic.).

People do not buy because you’re got a great solution or a shining personality. The last thing needed is a solution – and then, only after everything else is tried.

  • How will folks know that bringing in something new could add to what they are already doing and offer minimal disruption?
  • How can buyers be assured that a new solution will work with their current solution in a way that will cause minimal change management issues?
  • How do buyers go about ensuring that everyone who must be on the Buying Decision Team is on board?

Buyers must know the answers to these questions. When you first speak with a receptionist or a manager, they have no idea how to manage these internal change and buy-in issues. You can add a new job to your sales activity and help buyers recognize and manage all of the internal issues they must address. Because until or unless they do, they will take no action to do anything different.

By entering a call as a decision facilitator, and start off by helping them determine what Excellence will look like once their entire Team is bought-in to change (and, yes, a buying decision is a change management problem). Try this question as a conversation starter: How are you currently managing your X issues? And remember to continue along the lines of managing excellence before discussing need/solution on your next call. By the next call – if you’re using Buying Facilitation™ – you should be able to get the entire Buying Decision Team on the phone to have a real conversation – and a real prospect with a very high chance of closing.

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Learn about Buying Facilitation™.