In our last three articles, Part I, Part II, and Part III, “Show Up and Throw Up” we shared the importance of following all the steps of the buying/selling process when working to gain a new client. You have already received “green lights” through the Introduction, Gaining Favorable Attention, and Discovering Wants and Needs steps. Are you ready for the home stretch?
Since you have done a good job introducing yourself, gaining favorable attention, and have effectively discovered your prospect’s wants and needs, now, you can talk about your capabilities and how your solutions can help. It’s important that you re-establish rapport and review the situation as you understand it. Make sure your prospects have bought into the issues and have a desire or need to solve them. The key in this phase is to tie back your features and benefits to the specific issues detailed in the discovery process.
The goal of this phase, Presenting Benefits and Consequences, is to help prospects make a positive decision to do business with you. It may involve a presentation or just a casual conversation depending upon your business. Let your prospects decide. Often prospects will ask for a proposal depending on the industry. Be careful … proposals can be time consuming at best and a waste of time at worst.
You have now positioned yourself to Get Commitment. Ask your prospects what they need to make a decision to do business with you. Proposals may not be required, but can be the typical next step. The need for a proposal should have been determined in the discovery process. During this process, you should attempt to calculate the return on investment for the prospect. Making your solutions tangible is an aid to your prospects and allows them to focus on using your products and services. If a proposal is necessary and a norm for your industry, then find out what’s required, who will be in the audience, and how it should be presented. You always want to present the solutions in person. Never, ever, ever, EVER mail or email a proposal. If a prospect refuses to give you the opportunity to present solutions in person, consider it a “red light,” and jump back into needs discovery. You have obviously missed a critical decision path question.
When presenting your case, demonstrate the following points:
• You have a thorough understanding of the situation
• The objectives you will help them achieve
• Your approach for achieving those objectives
• The measurable outcomes and demonstrate a return on their investment
• How long it will take and what is the investment (Use the term investment not cost)
• A convincing summary of why the prospect should do business with you including a tie back to the return on investment
If presenting in PowerPoint® or with a handout, limit your slides to six bullet points and no more than six words per bullet point. It will keep the presentation simple and focused. Once all objections and clarifications are met, the getting commitment phase should be a natural conclusion.
In reality, you should be looking to get commitment at each step of the process. This does not mean you are closing at each step, but that you are getting permission to move on to the next step in the Buying/Selling Process. Here, you are trying to close the deal and open a long-term relationship. In all honesty, it should be a natural outcome of the process. Read the body language and look for other non-verbal clues your prospects might have. You need to ask for the business, but it should be more natural conclusion if you have gotten commitment along the way.
Make sure the sale doesn’t end at the presentation. As you begin to provide services for your clients, you are entering into the final stage called Follow Up/Execution. Be sure to maintain your relationship with the decision maker and look for opportunities to develop deep relationships throughout the organization. When executing for your clients, look to over deliver and create value throughout the organization. Help them understand the results you are delivering. Make yourself indispensable. Create an opportunity for more and more business to help you and your customer’s company grow.
The art of getting positive decisions and making sales is simply a matter of identifying qualified prospects, determining their buying motives, and then communicating how your products or services will help them gain the benefits they want. They must believe you will fulfill their wants and be confident the solutions you recommend will work. If you follow all of the steps in the buying/selling process, you will have successfully opened a long-term relationship and built the foundation for a loyal customer!
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