When you are in a dogfight with the competition (assuming you both are reasonably well informed), it means that the customer is going to make a choice and actually buy something. Someone is going home with the PO. After the initial sting of receiving the call that is the customer’s equivalent of the “Dear John” letter wears off, I would rather have lost a deal to another company than to realize that I had wasted my time chasing butterflies. Sales Managers take note: if the “Lack of DM Decision” tab is your team’s favorite reason for deals exiting the pipeline, you’re in trouble. This ain’t hockey: a tie gets no points.
So how do you avoid this situation?
The same way you get any movement in sales- you ask questions. One of my favorite sales questions to ask during the discovery phase (but not the first cold call, jojo) is one that I repeat throughout the sales process. It is some variation of:
What are the consequences of doing nothing/remaining status quo?
Image by the justified sinner via FlickrRecently I was involved in a large Jigsaw sale to a Fortune 500 company. I was working with the sales group primarily, starting with the district sales manager of the Bay Area. I asked him what his sales people would be using to find lead and target contact information if they remained status quo. He told me that they would continue to use the web (Google) and call into the contacts they already had in their home grown, very inaccurate and old CRM database. He then went on to tell me about a very important metric that would be affected negatively if they continued the way they did which they called “corrupted selling time,” which I referenced in every conversation with the company from then on. Not only did the customer eventually become one of Jigsaw’s largest customers, but I (and hopefully most of our salespeople) am now asking large companies if they keep track of “corrupted selling time.”
I’ll leave you with two quotes that motivate me while trying to get a prospect (or co-worker or partner) to take action:
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing”
“Make yourself a
sandwich; drink a glass of milk... Do some f^ckin' thing.”
-Jimmy Serrano (the gangster from Midnight Run)