Sometimes, it just isn't easy. It's raining. Your car has a flat tire. You cut yourself shaving. You can't find your keys.
Other times you get stood up by a prospect, or they give you every objection under the sun. Your company doesn't deliver or a competitor swooshes in and steals a customer.
But, the worst is when we're trapped in our head, standing on our own toe, succumbing to a self-limiting belief.
This week I was talking with a business owner. The business owner was about to prepare a proposal for a prospect. When I started asking questions, I realized that they really weren't ready for a proposal because the specific needs, authority, budget, etc. hadn't been determined. I suggested a short 3-4 question 'clarification' email about scope, history, sales/customers and timeline. The business owner hesitated and suggested that the prospect might be 'put off' at reading the questions rather than getting solutions presented in a proposal. The business owner asked if it would be better to call. I suggested that a call would probably be a bigger interruption and that as long as the clarification questions were short, well phrased and relevant, the prospect would be appreciative, not put off.
The next day, I got an email from the business owner.
"This is awesome! :)"
and under her message to me was her prospect's email to her.
Good questions! Please find my answers below… please keep asking if you need to…
Why would the business owner offer a proposal if it wasn't time? Why would the business owner not think to ask clarification questions? Why would anyone be put off by good, caring questions?
If I had written my advice in a book, ebook, white paper, blog post or even a personal email, this business owner's self-limiting belief would have prevented them from trying my suggestion, but I was there to hear the reluctance, handle the resistance and give just enough confidence to try it. They did. It worked. Growth happened. Congratulations, Mr. Business Owner!
I was talking to another business owner on the same day and asked how business was. He replied, "Not great. I'm still struggling to get going."
I asked, "What's going on?"
"I'm just not getting buy-in. People don't believe that I can help them and I don't have the case studies to back it up."
"Oh. What did you used to do before you did this?"
So we spent the next ten minutes talking about his prior experience. He was a pretty sharp guy. He had also been through extensive training in his new world. If he combines his new knowledge with his old experience, he'll be quite a resource. So, I asked if he had gone back to his old connections to get him started and no matter how I asked, it wasn't a good idea. Give me a break!
I didn't tell this business owner this because he wasn't ready for a breakthrough.
People buy for one of three reasons.
- They love the solution. It's perfect.
- They love the company. They're great at delivery and service.
- They love the salesperson. They're a trusted advisor who has never steered them wrong.
If all three are present, it's easy, but people have bought perfect solutions from crappy salespeople or companies that have less than stellar track records when they don't have other choices.
My first sale in my first real sales job was to a friend. He gave me four referrals and every one of them bought. My first sales when I started my collection agency were to business people that I already knew. My first clients for sales consulting knew me as their bill collector. You may change companies. You may change your solution, but you are still you.
What else is in your head that's in your way? Click the button.