Friday, June 19, 2009

A prospect's needs may not be found at the surface

Salesman Nicola d'Amato sent the following excerpt from to me and I thought it was appropriate to share with you:

" It's a wonderful feeling when you ask a prospect a question,
and he tells you about a problem he has that you can fix.

It's like having a woman you love tell you that she needs
someone like you.

It's a great feeling cause your prospect does need you when
he tells you that. And when a prospect tells you that he needs something like
what you got, he's exposed himself and made himself a bit
Which is why the average sales person doesn't hear such
needs so easily. Instead prospects tell you either that they don't need
anything, or they tell you exactly what they think they need
to solve their problem.

Either way they are protecting themselves.
If they say they don't need anything that may be true. Or it
may be that they don't know that they have a problem,
because they don't know that there is a better way to do
things than what they are doing now.

Think about it. Every innovation creates a gap that new
things can be sold into. But before such sales can happen,
prospects have to become aware that there is a new and
better way, that there is a gap.
And once there is a new and better way, many people will
want that, and hence will have a "problem" that can be

Other times prospects protect themselves by telling you
exactly what they want (or think they need) to solve their
problem. This usually causes us difficulty as sellers though
cause the prospect typically figures out his solution by
looking at other products to determine what the
possibilities are. And if your product is not the main one
he looks at, then you are in for an uphill battle.

Most prospects, men in particular, would rather speak
to you the seller as if they are in control and you are not.
You see most people's experience with sales people is not
good. Yours and mine included.
Most people think of sales people as poorly educated, not
that bright, and aggressive. So people put up their defenses
to protect against the idea that you are going to attack
them and try to get you to do something you don't want to

This is not to your benefit however.
No. You need to be in control of the sale.
There is good news however.
Control over the sale does not have to be a battle between
you and the prospect.
You can respectfully take control of the sale by telling
your prospect what you are going to do.
You simply tell your prospect at the beginning of every
sales call what's going to happen, and 99% of the time he
will agree to it.

Tell him that you are going to start out by asking him
questions, and that after you get through asking enough
questions to understand his situation that you will answer
his questions for example. Your prospect will be relieved
that you are smart and respectful and that he doesn't have
to be in control.

When you run your sales calls this way, you will then have
the chance to probe and hear about the real true nature of
the prospect's problem, instead of his already thought
through and biased-against-you solution.
And you will experience that wonderful feeling of hearing
prospects tell you they need something just like what you
are selling. "