A sale: objective or outcome?
So much of sales seems to be about getting someone to buy. That makes a sale the objective of the call. What would be different for you if it were approached as an outcome instead of an objective? What would you need to do, or believe, differently? And how would you know that you could meet your quotas if you believed that every prospect situation was meant to have a servant leader objective, with an outcome of what was best for the prospect?
I believe a sale is an outcome, reached when a buyer not only recognizes a need and chooses you to fulfill it, but when they are able to successfully address their internal change management issues to get the necessary buy-in to make a change (and a purchase).
THE FALLOUT FROM HAVING AN OBJECTIVE
When you enter prospecting with a sale as an objective, you are biasing your call. Not only are you only asking questions that you believe you need answers to (and thereby foregoing other important data), but you are wasting a valuable opportunity to 1. develope a true partnership; 2. use the initial moments to offer real service and begin influencing the buy-in, decision making process that buyers must go through. Not to mention that you are containing the conversation to what you can surmise as an outsider rather than potentially exploring the entire fact pattern and selling more, selling more quickly, or realizing you don’t have a prospect. After all, having a need is not the only definition of a prospect.
When you enter your initial communication with a prospect with a sale as an objective, the prospect will immediately have trust issues with you. A trusted advisor? How could you do that when your communication centers around placing your solution – i.e. getting your own needs met? Oh, sure, it sounds like you’re working at understanding their need….with YOUR solution. Here are the assumptions built into that:
- that their need – even if it matches your solution – is ready to be resolved;
- that they are seeking resolution;
- that they are seeking resolution with an external resource rather than fixing it in-house;
- that they would engage in the sort of conversation with a stranger that would lead to a closed sale;
- that you could be so engaging that they would want to spend time with you.
All of the above are not the sort of assumptions that will pay off with any serious rate of success. Hence your low close rate (anything under 40% from first call is low, and 2-8% is average for the sales industry).
What would you need to believe differently to enter a communication with a sale an outcome? For starters:
- that a purchase is one item in a list of many that buyers need to consider on their way to Excellence;
- that you can play a pivotal role in helping the prospect recognize and manage all of the internal decision issues they need to address in order to change;
- that until or unless the buyer manages their internal, human, decision journey, they can take no action, and you can either wait while they do it, or be their GPS system.
Helping buyers manage their buy-in issues is not part of the typical sales process. But you can either be a victim to their process, and lose a large % of sales you could be closing, or you can learn a new skill set – Buying Facilitation™ – and become the GPS system for your buyer’s private buying decision process.
Buying Facilitation™ is a learnable, scalable model that takes a bit of training to learn the new skills and new thinking that sales doesn’t offer. How will you know when it’s time to add a new skill set to what you’re already doing so successfully with your sales skills?