The short answer to this question is â€œYes and no – it dependsâ€
Depends on what? Well, it depends on whether we are discussing a reactive sales opportunity or a pro-active one.
Allow me to explain: A â€œreactive sales opportunityâ€ is when we are approached by a prospect or existing client, to provide a quotation/proposal/price. They have pre-selected us as a potential supplier â€“ because now, if it is true that these people are coming in much further up the â€œdecision curveâ€ they are already armed with most of the information they need to make a final decision.
This means they have, in all probability, researched our company; familiarized themselves with our product/solution offerings; checked out our track record; assessed us against their buying criteria, and reached the conclusion that we may â€“ and it is only â€œmayâ€ at this point â€“ be a possible contender to become their preferred supplier.
The fact that they are approaching us makes this what I term a â€œreactionary saleâ€ They have made the first move, and as such have removed much of the need for us to sell ourselves to them â€“ they have eliminated a considerable chunk of the foreplay stage, but we should not assume that they are prepared to go straight to the cigarette!
It would be easy â€“ and understandable â€“ to assume that they are merely now looking for the lowest price, but in most cases this is not true: They will most certainly be looking for the best value for money and price performance, which could include a fairly complex criteria: That criteria will include specific and relevant strengths such as demographics, and even psychographics; a successful track record with similar deals/installations; longevity in the market; financial stability; leadership in the sector, etc.
In this scenario, if we are able to satisfy all of their needs, it is highly unlikely we are going to encounter many objections â€“ if any.
LetÂ me illustrate my point â€¦
Imagine that you are in the market for a new car: You decide that you would like to buy a second-hand Range Rover, and you go online to locate all the dealers close to your location. You call the first one on the list, Farrington Range Rovers Râ€™ us and you get to speak to the owner, Jono Farrington.
The call would probably go like this â€¦
You: â€œGood morning, I am thinking about buying a second-hand Range Rover, what do you have in stock?â€
JF: â€œGood morning madam/sir (the Farrington family are renowned for their courtesy) may I ask you a few questions to determine your precise requirements?â€
You: â€œYes, of course (you arenâ€™t going to say â€œNo, you have to guessâ€)
JF: â€œTo begin with, can I determine your budget â€“ how much do you want to pay?â€ Absolutely critical question, for obvious reasons
You: â€œI really donâ€™t want to spend more than $50.000 â€“ and it would be good if I could spend lessâ€
JF: â€œOK, that means we are looking at a two year model, with around 20.000 miles on the clock, is that acceptable?â€
You: â€œYes, that is what I was expecting â€“ I have done some researchâ€
JF: â€œDo you have a preference for color?â€
You: â€œI really love the metallic silverâ€
JF: â€œOK, and transmission â€“ manual or automatic?â€
You: â€œDefinitely auto, pleaseâ€
JF: â€œWhat about upholstery â€“ do you prefer leather?â€
You: â€œOh yes, definitelyâ€
JF: â€œWhat about extras like tow-bars, CD player, satellite-navigation, etc.?â€
You: â€œWell, music is a plus, but air-con is essential, pleaseâ€
JF: â€œWhen are you looking to purchase/take delivery â€“ what are your time scales?â€
You: â€œIf I find exactly what I am looking for, I have finance arranged, and can take delivery immediatelyâ€
JF: â€œPlease leave it with me, and Iâ€™ll get back to you within 24 hours â€“ is that OK?â€
You: â€œThatâ€™s great, thank youâ€
Within 24 hours I call you back as promised: â€œGood morning, this is Jono Farrington from Farrington Range Rovers Râ€™ us, we spoke yesterday about your requirements for a Range Roverâ€
You: â€œOh yes, good morningâ€
JF: â€œCan I confirm that your requirements are still exactly the same?â€
You: â€œYes, they are the same as we discussed yesterdayâ€
JF: â€œOK, good. I have sourced a 2011 model, so it is just fifteen months old, with 14.000 miles on the clock. It is metallic silver with automatic transmission, air-conditioning, and a top of the range CD unit â€“ it also has the latest satellite navigation system, which is a bonus. Oh, and it is just $42.000 -when would you like to come and collect it?â€
What just happened in that scenario? Well, quite simply I matched your requirements â€“ in fact I exceeded them (to use another well-worn clichÃ©) you were prepared to pay $50.000, so I saved you a considerable sum of money. You also would have accepted a vehicle with up to 20.000 miles, and of course, whilst not instantly obvious, that sat-nav will come in very useful.
This was a typical reactive sales opportunity, and after thorough qualification I not only matched your needs, but left you with no opportunity to raise an objection.
Ah, but what about â€œpro-active sales scenariosâ€Â - Iâ€™ll discuss that next week in a separate post. Too much on this topic in one day and someone is bound to object!
News: It is time to start whetting your lips in anticipation of the Top Sales Academy launch, which is now just one week away: We think we haveÂ designed the most comprehensive; the most affordable, and the most advancedÂ online sales program ever created, and it is going to beÂ delivered by some of the most successful sales gurus on the planet. Excited? So are we … more very soon.
Two great new interviews today over at TSW, with Dario Pirolo of Richardson andÂ Larissa Gschwandtner of SellingPower and Sales 2.0 Conference fame – Larissa very rarely does interviews, so do listen in if you can.