I see this happening all the time. You may not stop to think about it, but it’s probably happened to you.
Consider Jane. She was fortunate enough to get right to the Decision Maker with one of her best prospects. Things moved quickly and she made a big sale. She didn't bother to include other Decision Influencers… and this time, it didn't cause a problem. However, on her next three big prospects, she repeated the mistake of ignoring all the Decision Influencers, focusing only on the Decision Maker. In each case, the prospects stalled out because she failed to include these other key players. Unfortunately for Jane, she has not figured out that this is the problem because she is still celebrating the big sale where she focused solely on the Decision Maker.
Or, what about Mike? He delivered his impressive elevator speech, did some surface level needs analysis, and just pitched his product to an ideal target account. He made a nice sale, because in truth, this prospect was ready to buy when he made initial contact. Of course, Mike read too much into his own actions—thinking he was awesome! When Mike repeats the process with his next two ideal prospects, he gets nowhere. The worst part is, he has no clue why. He is wondering if he needs to repeat his elevator speech louder or find a more creative way to articulate his product advantages.
What he really needs to be doing is uncovering needs and developing tailored solutions.
The best salespeople commit to the best sales process with each prospect. Don't be tempted to take short cuts. Here are five things you want to be sure you do:
- Find and select prospects that are worth your time.
- Dangle your process in your initial approach, instead of relying on your product.
- Stand above your competitors by doing a thorough needs analysis.
- Present an ideal tailored solution, not just your product.
- Discuss the major components of your solution along the way, so there are no surprises in your final proposal.
Don't read too much into the steps you followed to make any single sale. Look for the bigger patterns over time and follow a process that will help you win most often.
For a more complete list of steps beyond the five outlined above, download the Target Account Progress Tracker.
John Henley is the Chief Operating Officer at The Center for Sales Strategy