Sellers who want to succeed must ask themselves a vitally important question: Are you ready and prepared to have a value-rich conversation?
I recently took a camping trip with my buddies to St. Louis, and though many of us were excited about the trip, we realized that being prepared was something completely different.
Being ready for it suggests that you believe in your ability to get it done. Being prepared means having the proper equipment and gear to succeed.
My friend Doug shared recently that many different sellers pitch his company, and though many of them are ready, most are not prepared. Sellers often feel excited about the sales pitch and the possibility that it could lead to great opportunities for their company.
If, however, they arrive unprepared, they'll be unable to identify the problem their prospects are facing. They won't have any idea about how to solve the problem for the client.
If our crew didn't prepare for our camping trip, we wouldn't have enough food and water to sustain our group. If we can't communicate with the folks who are scheduled to pick us up, we could quickly find ourselves in the midst of a disaster.
Imagine I sell office furniture and I'm excited to pitch our new sofas and standing desks to my prospects. I must be ready and prepared to address the person's business, how it operates, how it makes money, and the changes that exist within the industry.
If my client is facing higher prices because of the trade war with China, I have to understand that business problem and then offer ways to solve it. It's the same as going camping without enough drinking water. You're going to land yourself in a tough situation, and ultimately, you'll sound like every other sales rep.
The same friend was working with a prospect when he discovered that he didn't understand enough about the prospect's industry.
He started by researching the people who were going to attend his upcoming meeting. He researched each person on LinkedIn so he was prepared to have good conversations.
Next, he Googled the company's history so the prospect wouldn't have to educate him on it. And when the prospect asked him what he knew about the company, he was able to share the history.
He also observed that many of the company's employees changed position from one department or role to another. That helped him have more meaningful conversations about the changes the company was facing.
His preparation set him apart from his competitors, many of whom show up expecting the prospect to provide this information for them.
"Research repeatedly shows that buyers are 50 to 60 percent through the buying cycle before they ever meet with you. The buyers are more prepared than ever, which means that sellers must do the same.
These buyers come to the table with more understanding. They want to have meaningful conversations with companies that can solve their problems and offer great deals.
If you find yourself being dismissed often, it's likely that you didn't provide a value-rich conversation. If your prospects frequently offer to "follow up with you," you didn't provide compelling reasons for the prospect to engage with your company.
Go a step further and research your main competition. Who is your prospect working with now? Who have they done business with in the past?
Uncover your competition's shortcomings and leverage that information to show how you can be the ideal solution.
Sometimes companies are in contracts with vendors but if you can create reasonable doubt, you can help the prospect realize that the current partner isn't the greatest fit.
"Ready and Prepared" episode resources
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