Finally, after many calls, emails and conversations, you get a nibble. The customer tells you they are ready, interested & willing to talk with you to learn more.
Typically, the customer will now ask or expect you to tell them about your company, solutions … even pricing!
All too often though, at the first sign of interest, we, as sales people, immediately jump into “pitch” mode – talking about the features and benefits of our solution, going through different options and inevitably offering & committing to providing them with a quote.
Simply put, even when the customer does explain his/her need, the first need they tell you is likely not the “real underlying driver” but rather a symptom of an issue, goal or problem they are experiencing.
Ask yourself … “why do they need this?” If your answer is because they want to “increase something”, “save something (money)” or “improve something” … Ask yourself, “but why”? If you can’t answer that, keeping digging!!!!
Let’s look at an example:
After 18 months of conversations between a CRM salesperson and a VP Sales, the VP Sales suddenly communicates that he is now considering implementing a CRMs for their 10 sales reps.
The knee jerk reaction for this sales rep is to begin discussing the features and benefits of their software, offer to do a demo and then finish off by offering to provide the VP Sales a quotes. Unfortunately, this is where things begin to go wrong because the sales rep still doesn’t really know why this need exists.
Upon hearing the VP Sales is considering implementing a CRMs solution, the sales rep’s next action should be to dig deeper to understand what is truly driving this need.
Let’s play this out further to see what should happen.
|Sales Reps Asks
||Prospect/VP Sales Answers
|What’s your main reason for wanting a CRM?
||Our sales team is disorganized and we, as management, lack visibility as to what is going on!
|What’s your main reason for wanting a CRM?Our sales team is disorganized and we, as management, lack visibility as to what is going on!How long has this been an issue for you?
||For many years. In fact ever since I took over 5 years ago.
|Why is it now a priority?
||We are considering expanding our offices into several other states in the US so we need to “clean up our current structure” before we do that.
|Ideally, when are you planning to expand your sales efforts and organization into other markets?
||We would like to have our first satellite office set up within the next 12 months.
|You have been very successful to date without one, what are you truly hoping CRM will do for you?
||Our President is committed to duplicating every aspect of our organization so we can expand easily and at a lower risk.
|What’s your biggest risk in this expansion?
||It’s always been an important topic, but much more now as our competitors are starting to hit new markets so we cannot be left in a vulnerable position. In addition, to secure the financing we may need to fund our expansion, we need to show our investors we have positioned ourselves properly.
How would you describe the VP of Sales need(s) before he was asked all the above probing questions?
What was the VP of Sales “real” need(s) after he was asked all of the above probing questions? What did you learn about his real motivation?
If the sales rep “pitched” & quoted right after the VP of Sales said they were looking to implement a CRM solution for 10 reps, what would the sales rep’s likely strategy & action plan have been?
If the sales rep had asked all the probing questions above (and received the appropriate answers as he did in this scenario), how might the sales rep’s strategy & action plan changed/played out differently?
How does asking all of the questions above benefit the sales rep?
How does asking all of the questions above benefit the prospect?
In thinking about a recent sales situation, what have you learned from this exercise in terms of what you could have done differently?