Turning Leads Into Prospects
In our sales consulting practice we see lots of sales people get wrapped around the gears talking about features and benefits instead of asking questions. Or worse, as soon as they see a problem or hear a pain, they immediately jump up and down and say "we can solve that!" They then focus all of their efforts on talking about their solution and how wonderful it is instead of asking about the prospect's problems.
The trouble with this approach is they have not spent enough time listening to the prospect and uncovering ALL the issues involved. Many times the first issue raised isn't even the real issue, but just a symptom. Only by continuing to ask questions will they understand the full picture of the prospect's situation. And this puts a salesperson in a much better position to help.
How many issues should you uncover? We coach our clients to find at least six issues or "compelling reasons" before presenting a solution. Lots of sales coaches and trainers will talk about "finding the pain." And I agree pain can be a great motivation to change, but we like to think more broadly and include other compelling reasons beyond pain. For example, identifying new revenue opportunities, new efficiencies, ways to gain market share, or other positive reasons to take action or make a change.
But even finding six compelling reasons is not enough, you also need to let the prospect tell you the consequences of those issues. And when it comes to uncovering the consequences, the more detail you can uncover the better. When you find an issue or problem, consider asking the following questions to get more detail:
•What is this costing you?
•What impact is this having on your operations?
•What could you do with those resources if this were not a problem?
•What is the cost of not fixing this?
•Who is responsible for this?
•How long has this been a concern?
If you follow this approach and find at least six compelling reasons for the prospect to change AND you uncover the consequences of not addressing those issues, you'll be in a much stronger position to convert leads into prospects and prospects into sales.
And if you run into a stall or delay, you can go back and review the issues - their issues - and highlight the consequences - their consequences - of not acting.