Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Getting Critical Dates from Prospects – Often Neglected, But Key

There are typically three reasons why a sales opportunity goes to “No Decision”:

1.       Customer agrees there is a problem, but doesn’t perceive it as Critical
2.       Customer doesn’t see the Value
3.       There is no Critical Date by when a solution needs to be in place.

Let’s look at number 3…  Far too often, customers just can’t seem to “pull the trigger” and make the purchase. 

We ask, “Isn’t the problem important for you to solve?”  Customer responds, “Oh yes…!”

We ask and note, “Don’t you see the value – and that you are losing more and more of that value every day…”  Customer sighs and says, “Oh yes, the value is terrific – and I hate losing that value every day…!”

We then ask, “Then what is holding you back from making the purchase?”  Customer responds, “I don’t know…!”

They agree the problem is huge, they see the value, but they just can’t take that one additional step to make the purchase.  Why?  People are willing to live with the hell that they know – forever – unless they have a Critical Date or Event that forces them to make the change and implement.  (Anyone ever procrastinate writing a college or university paper until juuuuuuust before the deadline?)

Sadly, most sales teams think in terms of their own quarter ends as the “Critical Date” – and it is a Critical Date, but for the sales team, not the customer!

During Discovery, ask if the customer has a date by when they need to have a solution in place (and why).  Here are a few Critical Dates and Events could serve as examples for discussion:

-          Any major changes in your business expected in the near future – acquisitions, divestitures, new building, a move, reorganization or major new hires or retires?
-          Any compliance or regulatory events on the near horizon – audits, compliance reports, new regulations going into place?
-          End of life or end of support for existing software or equipment?
-          End of your fiscal year or quarter?
-          Project deadline?
-          New project expected?
-          Kickoff or quarterly meeting?
-          Selling season(s) – e.g., Summer Holidays, Halloween, Winter Holidays?
-          Tax season?
-          Board meeting?

Any others to suggest?

No comments: