Check out the huge chunk of sales tips I shared with Jack Bonehill when I was guest sales expert on Jack’s podcast:
It’s really exciting when we get enquiries and quotes, what’s not so great is when they don’t go ahead, or if there’s delays or we just don’t know what’s going on!
The best time to understand more about that is on the initial enquiry. People tend to share the most when you initially engage with them.
That’s our golden opportunity to ask some great questions. I’m just going to talk you through some of those. Let’s imagine I’m getting a sales training inquiry, which I’m really happy about, but at the same time, I want to make sure that there’s an opportunity I can help with.
And if I’m the right kind of person to do that. So I’ll start off by saying:
“Oh, thanks very much. How did you hear about me?” And they’ll say something like, “Well I saw your website or I saw some of your content on LinkedIn. Or “someone recommended me.”
And then I’d ask, “okay, and what’s brought about the requirement for this?” And it might be that they say, “well, we found that this is an issue for us….” Or “Well we’re just considering doing something next year. So just wanted to get an idea of cost if you could help us with that.”
So there are some different responses as examples. I would then before going on just ask one more question, which would just be to say, “and what are you currently doing at the moment? “
“So what are you currently doing for sales training right now?”
“Oh, we’ve got another sales training provider, that we’ve been using for a while.”
I then ask, “Oh, okay, why are you not going ahead with them then?” Or “why are you considering not using them?”
And if they say to me, “well, we’ve kind of feel like we’ve seen all of their content and we need to give our sales people a bit of a different approach.” Or if they were to say, “yeah, we could use the, the other provider, but we’re just seeing what else is around in the marketplace.”
Both of those say to me that there’s potential there, but one has got way more potential. The first one expresses dissatisfaction. “We’ve seen all their content.” That tells me that they’re not getting value anymore or they’ve perceived not to be getting value, any more from the other provider.
So just to, just to summarize on that, we want to thank them for their enquiry or their request for a quote, but we also need to be mindful that they may be testing the market. They may not be ready. It may be a future requirement.
It may be that they’ve been told to get three quotes. They’ve actually decided to use someone else, but they still have to get two of the quotes because that’s their buying policy. So by asking these questions:
“How did you hear about us?” “What’s brought about the requirements?” “What are you currently doing?” “Why you not going down that route?” Those give you some great ways to initially gauge the, the expectation. I hope you find that helpful. Please share this with anyone you feel might be interested.
Hi, today I want to share with you how bias, fear and assumption can cost us opportunities. And we may not even realize the opportunities that they’re costing us! About nine years ago I almost made this horrendous mistake. I drove to a client’s place. They’d asked me to come in and talk about how I could help their staff. And I was sitting in the car early, and just running through a few things in my mind, preparing myself for the meeting.
I found myself going down this path where I was thinking “ok they’re this sort of company, they’ve got this many staff. We’ve done this sort of thing for them in the past. They’ve probably got this sort of requirement now, so that means they’ve probably got a budget of this… So, this is what I’ll probably recommend.”
And then I stopped myself! And I thought, what are you doing? You don’t know any of this. It could be a completely different set of circumstances. And you’re making these decisions for them, that’s just madness! So I thought to myself, ok what I’m going to do is just go in there with an open mind. I’m going to find out what the requirements are, how many staff it is and if I can actually help. And then irrespective of whatever the budget is, I’m going to just make the best recommendation in terms of solution to the problem that they’ve got.
And I am so glad I did. Because, when I walked out of that meeting, the opportunity was two and a half times in size what I had conjured up in my mind, based of my past experience and my assumption in terms of what I thought they would want me to help them with.
I’m so thankful that I stopped myself in my tracks there. Why was I thinking like that? I think it was because I had some preconceived ideas. I was going off my past experience. I was going in there feeling like I already knew them really, really well and we wouldn’t have to do too much to deliver value for them.
When in actual fact there’s always loads more to find out, as I found out in that conversation. So, have a think about that: When you prepare for calls, or meetings, or if you’ve got teams, perhaps they’re doing it. Everyone’s busy, everyone’s trying to move onto the next thing, everyone’s trying to serve.
And so, we might be at risk of a bit of bias coming in, a bit of assumption. Or perhaps even if our figures aren’t where we want them to, or if we’re chasing something, or if there’s a bit of pressure, perhaps we are going in with a lower recommendation because we feel it’s safe. And, that helps to get a deal up on the board. Whereas in actual fact, the prospect or the customer may not go ahead, because it doesn’t solve the problem, in which case you’ve got nothing!
I hope you find that useful. Have a think about that before you prepare for your next calls or meetings. And make the best recommendation irrespective of whether you believe that the customer or the prospect can afford it. Sell on value, that’s the most important thing that you can do, remember to make the right recommendations! Have you ever had a similar experience in your time selling?