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Seeking appointments is costing you sales

Submitted by on Monday, 14 June 2010

Do you have any idea why you try to get an appointment with a prospect – as your first priority? Let me guess:

  1. you believe that eye-to-eye contact will give you a better chance at a relationship, i.e. they will like you, and want to buy from you;
  2. you’ll be able to understand better what is going on because as you ask your questions you’ll be able to track the reactions and know where you stand;
  3. the fact that they are willing to make an appointment is proof that they are prospects – or you make them prospects once you’ve met with them;
  4. they’ll be able to see how professional you are and will learn to trust you;
  5. you’ll outshine the competition with the strength of your personality, your presentation, and your knowledge of their needs and industry.

Did I miss anything? It doesn’t matter, because all of the above are specious. Here is why.

  1. the competition that show up to meet with the prospects are equally well-dressed and professional, and have equally compelling material to share;
  2. each competitor that shows up will be personable, charming, and know just how to get the prospect to like them;
  3. if the prospect was really ready to resolve their problem, they would have already done so;
  4. you only close a fraction of these sales. If it worked, you’d close more, obviously;
  5. the person you wangle an appointment with may or may not play a large role on the Buying Decision Team, but at best, is only one of many other (unknown) members of the BDT that you have no access to and may heavily weight the Buying Decision.
  6. the person you meet initially has no clear criteria of how to choose you. On the strength of his/her personal thoughts/feelings, s/he may or may not translate some of what you presented/discussed to others – who may not be the right people, who may not show up on the BDT…not to mention that the ‘translation’ of what this person heard may or may not be accurate.

FALSE ASSUMPTION

When you spend so much effort trying to first make an appointment, here is what you’re missing that might have given you more success:

  1. you only get an agreement for an appointment from folks already seeking a solution and are most likely seeing your competition as well;
  2. the person seeing you is vetting you using criteria unknown to you, and you really have no idea where this person sits in terms of an ultimate decision to buy;
  3. you are not securing appointments with the majority of potential prospects: many good prospects haven’t decided to take action on possible needs and may think they are not in a position to buy anything  (Buying Facilitation™ quickly shows folks how to consider adding solutions, enlisting a large percent of prospects who didn’t recognize interest – on the first call);
  4. by only getting one or two people into a room for your first visit, you are seriously delaying the sales cycle. It’s very viable to teach the buyer how to enmass his/her complete Buying Decision Team as a result of your first call, so when you get there, there will be a large number of people in the room and all will be eager to consider purchasing (We get these results every time.)
  5. by spending your first few calls teaching buyers how to recognize and manage their behind-the-scenes decision issues before it’s even necessary to discuss need or solution, you can collapse the buying decision cycle.

Using your conventional call –> appointment –> data gathering –> presentation model, you’re not  moving the sale forward: prospects have to figure out how to get buy-in for a purchase and this is a mystery  process for them; many of the appropriate people aren’t in the room; and when/if the time comes that  the others want to learn about you, you either have to come back, or — even worse — the ones who met  you will translate what you said to the others.

WAIT FOR THE APPOINTMENT

I don’t mind you making prospecting appointments, but don’t use your body as a prospecting tool.

It’s very very possible to get most of the Buying Decision Team to be there on your first visit. Start off as a neutral navigator and teach buyers how to recognize all that they must address (much of which is private and outside of your understanding) and how to choose the appropriate members of their Buying Decision Team. This will position you as a True Consultant, get you outside of the needs assessment/solution placement push of the sales model, and truly help your buyer begin taking the necessary behind-the-scenes steps they’ll need to manage before they can buy anything. Sales doesn’t manage this process, but with Buying Facilitation™ it’s quite simple.

Stop trying to get an appointment. Use your first call to be a neutral navigator, leading the prospect through the internal issues they must address before they can even consider buying anything. They will trust you as a true consultant as you help them navigate through their unconscious and internal elements, show them how to choose the members of their Buying Decision Team, and teach them how to bring in your solution. Then, your price won’t be an issue, there will be no objections, a quick sale, and no competition. You should be able to close at least 5X more sales, in 1/8 the time (we have 20 years of global statistics on this, in multiple industries, on small and complex sales, of different price points).

Are you willing to change to get different results? And answer this: Would you rather sell or have someone buy? They are 2 different activities.

sd

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