Have you ever thought; "I had a great conversation with my prospect. I did a great job getting them to share and I got everything that I needed, put together the best proposal of my life, and now I can't get them on the phone to close them. What should I do?”
Some say "stop fixing them," and they are partially right. But there is another twist to that, and that's to stop getting everything you need. First, find out everything that they, the prospect (a real live person!), wants and needs.
A coaching client came to me with this epiphany this morning. A person he has been talking to and sending helpful articles, giving him some tips on what to do on his website and in his email campaigns for the past few months told him yesterday, “Some guy tried to sell me a new website and SEO. I told him that if I ever need that, I will be working with you because I know and trust you- you won’t try to sell me something I don’t need.” Not only that, this person has been telling other people about my client.
It dawned on my client that by not trying to sell this person, he has established trust, and thought leadership status, and an evangelist for his business. The irony is that it is the exact same problem he has been having with prospects who don’t want to share information with him so he can give them a proposal, or don't response to his requests to meet, talk, or accept his proposals. He finally thought, "What if I stop trying to sell them too and just start being more helpful?" <insert the sounds of Hallelujah here!>
Then he thought, "What if after the first contact when someone tells me to check back with me in 3 months, I use that sales follow up time to send them articles that I have written or read that might help him? What if during that time I offers them some free and personalized tips- without any expectation of a sales conversation?"
What would happen when that 3 months is up, and he says- "So by the way, 3 months ago we talked about this- what now?" What if he turned his sales process into his buyer's process?
Many times these past few weeks, clients have come to me in our daily coaching calls and told me about the conversations they have had with people, and the ones that they want to have. They come ready with what they need to ask to qualify them as a prospect or if they knew someone that would be a good referral. They have planned out exactly what to say and when to say it to get the prospect to move through their funnel. They put a lot of time and work into the planning to get what they want. What they wanted to get from the conversation and the steps to get there was clear.
It’s also clear to your prospect, the person on the other side of the conversation, what you are doing. You are selling. People don’t like to be sold, or qualified to close. They don’t want to follow your agenda, they have problems of their own- one of which is now figuring out whether you can really help them and how and if it is worth their time to find out. They don’t like feeling like the meat in the butcher shop that you are examining through glass. It's not about you, or what you want- but them.
Stop selling. Start helping.
Be curious about them, see to understand the why. Why is this a problem? Why is it important? Be other focused (other than yourself!). To change your status quo, do something different.