I once had a telemarketer keep me on the phone for over a minute. My usual average is less than 15 seconds, depending on how long it before they take a breath. I’m polite because I like to hear their approaches. He asked me a key question; “Was I earning 20+% on my investments?” I said, no.
He then asked me if I’d like to earn that much. I said, “sure,” and then I asked him what the investment was. He demurred and said he couldn’t say what it was yet. He then started in on his “sales pitch,” about the returns and his happy clients. I interrupted and told him I would hang up in ten seconds unless he told me what the investment was.
Knowing he had ten seconds, he told me. It was ostrich farming. All I had to do was buy some ostriches to earn 20+% on my money.
I said, “Hmmm, what is the price of ostriches these days?” They didn’t cost very much he assured me. Only ten grand.
I then asked if he knew where he was calling? He said, no. I was living in Minnesota. The temperature that winter was particularly cold. That day it was minus 10 degrees. I told him I thought the ostriches would die in these temperatures, and as a result, they would be a bad investment. However, if he had any penguins, I might stay on the line. He hung up.
If you are in sales or marketing and selling your products, your first task is to really know your prospects. This is Sales 101. My telemarketer failed miserably in this step, and it cost him valuable time. Although perhaps his time wasn’t worth much.
The second step is to understand what the prospect is trying to accomplish and their goals. However, most sales advice is to ask a few broad questions, and then quickly steer the conversation to discover issues with which your product or service can help. I disagree with this approach. It doesn’t build trust. It says, “I’m in a hurry to sell you my “solution.” If instead, Mr. Ostrich had provided me with some useful investment information first, or asked about my goals, maybe I would have been more receptive to a new investment idea.
When I asked him the price for ostriches, I was being cynical. Without establishing my goals, and the cost of overcoming the barriers to achieving them, any price would have been too much. If he had established that my goal was to put my kids through college, and that I was worried about doing this, he might have been able to justify the price of his investment or create some value. Though at today’s college costs, I would have had to buy a lot of ostriches.
If the client believes your solution may help them overcome a problem, the difference between the cost of their issues and the price of your solution becomes the value.
Cost of Problem – Price of Solution = Value of Solution
It can only be called a solution if the prospect comes to that conclusion, and the prospect develops the value in their mind. This is true no matter how hard you try to tell them what they need. (Don’t do that.)
So slow down, in both your marketing and in sales efforts. Understand your prospects. Help them in ways they don’t expect. Give them information that is useful to them. And don’t rush them.
Nobody shows up on a first date with flowers, their parents, and a proposal. By slowing down at the beginning of your sales cycle you can speed up the sale later.
Only after you’ve built trust, have you have earned the right to ask prospects about their goals. Then if you establish the true cost of failing to achieve these goals, and next help them see a vision of what their lives would be like if barriers to their goals were overcome, then you might ask them if your capabilities could help.
Why this sequence? Because then your conversation won’t be about price. Your conversation will be about value… and not about penguins.
Do Great Things!
Prairie Sky Group
Making Sales Cry With Qualified Leads