Most people put either their right shoe or left shoe on first. Every single time they put on shoes, they put them on in the same order. Pay attention to your habits the next time you put on your shoes! Try to put the other one on first—it will feel awkward.
But as ingrained and habitual as this is, can you tell me which shoe you put on first this morning? Probably not.
We follow patterns in other areas in our lives, too, without giving them much thought. Not all our habits are neutral, like the order of our shoes, or even good, like remembering to brush and floss our teeth everyday. In fact, in B2B selling, we can get into some pretty bad habits that can hurt our chances at closing a sale.
An Unfinished Needs Analysis
Picture this: You’re on a call with a prospect who seems interested in what you have to say. They’re actively listening, and responding like they want to buy. You’re in the needs-analysis part of the conversation, when the prospect asks about cost.
It’s easy to jump ahead, to blaze forward. They’re talking cost! You think you can close the sale! So you bulldoze the rest of the conversation and throw a lot of facts, phrases, and terms in your prospect’s direction. You even go so far as to suggest a solution that might not be the best for your prospect. Their interest wanes, their eyes glaze over. They tell you they’ll have to think about it.
Slow Down Instead
When the prospect asks about price, give them a range that customers spend with you and then suggest that you’ll address price more specifically later in the conversation. Continue digging to ensure you’ve gotten to the heart of their needs. If you start talking about price before you know enough about the needs to make an appropriate proposal, you’re guilty of malpractice and at risk of losing the sale. The fact that the prospect led you there with the question about price is irrelevant. You still lost the sale.
Conduct a thorough needs analysis and you just might uncover that the prospect doesn’t need a one-off solution, that they really need something different from the product whose price they were inquiring about. You might find out that they have a big need and are willing to pay a big price for a big result.
Break that ingrained habit to talk, and that ingrained habit to close before it’s really time to close. Make the decision to talk less and listen more.
Slowing down your urge to close doesn’t mean you’ve delayed the close. It could be just the opposite. We often find that slowing down the proposal, can speed up the sale. To get better needs and to make the sales process move more quickly, use what we call the Hourglass Needs Analysis.