#19: Asking for the business

10/09/2014
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Having talked about Sales Qualification and Pipeline Management as key components of the sales process, let us turn our attention to Asking for the Business.

Firstly, a quick comment on some of the things that crop up in sales meetings:

  1. Remember to differentiate between the features (what it is) and the benefits (what’s in it for the buyer) of your offering.
  2. If you are asked what your USP (Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition) is, make sure you have a response – silence will not help your cause.
  3. If you are asked for proof that you can do what you say are offering, ensure you have some options up your sleeve – e.g. qualifications, case studies, testimonials. The crucial issue is to “de-risk” the decision from the buyer’s perspective.

Secondly, when discussing price, try to have 2 approaches in mind. If it is a straightforward requirement, quote the price and then stay silent – you don’t need to justify it. On the other hand, if it is complicated then merely state that you will go away, work it out, and have a firm figure to the prospect within a certain period.

Whatever you do avoid thinking out loud in front of the prospect – a rocky road to losing the sale. If you get pushback on price, think about whether you can trade time and not money e.g. if you have offered a “modular” solution then take out a couple of modules if you are prepared to lower the price.

Finally, develop a few ways of asking for the business with which you are comfortable. A couple of examples that have worked well for me are:

  1. The “alternative close” – would you like to start this month or next month (the “will you buy it or will you buy it” approach)
  2. The “summary close” – you have identified several benefits which would arise from doing this work (repeat them); should we therefore put a date in the diary to make a start?

In a perfect world you create a situation where the prospect wants to but from you rather than you sell to them, but the world isn’t perfect, so you need a few tips and hints that you can employ. I hope these help and remember you can always contact me for advice and information.

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