What's another word for a decision maker in a sales situation? It is a prospect, a lead or a potential client, etc. These are all names we use to describe those we want to buy from us. However, something is missing from these words. It’s the human element. We need to remember these are people. They have hopes, dreams and goals. They do their jobs for specific reasons.
Sally is someone I know who is a Vice President at a Fortune 500 company. She has five people working for her and she alone does the work of three people. To add to the challenge of managing all the priorities on her plate, she likes to leave by 5:30pm twice a week to watch her twins’ soccer game. What is most important to Sally (aside from her family)? She wants to be promoted. She doesn’t have the luxury to spend time championing an idea that could save her company 10-20% if it won’t also put her on the path to her promotion. She is very selective about how she spends her time.
The message here is that the more in tune we are with our prospects as individuals, the better choices we will make when we communicate with them. If we understand their motivations, we can align ourselves with what is most important to them. Few sellers make the additional time to understand life from their prospect’s side of the desk. Those who do will win more often.
One seller once told me, “I’ve left that girl three messages and she didn’t call me back. She is so rude and I don’t work with people who are rude.” I asked, “Do you have any idea what's going on in her life that would cause her to respond to you the way she did?” Maybe she truly doesn’t have an extra minute in her day to respond to an email that has nothing to do with her top 10 priorities. Prospects won’t take action because something is important to you. They will take action because it’s important to them. Here are questions you can ask yourself about your prospects to help you get to know their motivations better.
• How do they get reviewed at the end of the year?
• How do they get promoted at the end of the year (if applicable)?
• How does your product/service help them to do a good job?
• How can your products/services make their lives better?
• How do they know they’ve made a good decision when they buy products/services like yours?
• What are the pressures your decision makers face at work or at home?
I like to say that closing a sale is a simple executional detail of business development well done. Aligning yourself with your prospects’ goals, dreams and desires will help you achieve your goals dreams and desires, too.
Enterprising Women is a partner in the new Million Women Mentors (MWM) initiative.
The initiative supports the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentors — women and men — to increase the interest and confidence of young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.