When you don’t lose on price you sometimes lose on bad decisions or simply a decision was never made. This is an interesting dilemma for some of our clients and sometimes for our own organization. Most Sales leaders start to wonder why they lose deals and attempt to track this closely. We decided to do the same and we were surprised that this topic has come up a lot lately internally and externally within our clients and our own organization. It’s great to finally see decisions being made as the economy picks up but as we mentioned there are still bad decisions or frankly decisions not being made at all so we figured it was important to understand further how to combat this challenge.
What we have analyzed internally was that a lot of decision makers simply don’t have the time, flexibility or data needed to make the correct or often best decision and instead worry about budget as the primary decision making criteria and perhaps experience as the number two factor. We recently digested a great HBR article on how to stop worrying about making the right decision but instead to figure out how to make really make your decision the right one once it’s been made by ensuring the success of the decision through your own efforts. You can read more here at HBR: https://hbr.org/2013/11/stop-worrying-about-making-the-right-decision/.
We couldn’t agree more with this approach. We went back and surveyed over 100 inbound web leads that never converted to clients over the past two years and the majority of the feedback received was that there was simply no decision made to pursue Teleprospecting as a tactic. Now we either didn’t do a great job showcasing our value or many of these prospects were not really ready to buy almost solely based upon a lack of budget and desire to really solve the challenges they have. This can be an agonizing and big challenge for most sales teams so we put pen to paper around what qualifiers we would enhance internally to avoid falling into sales processes with prospects that weren’t ready. We used three critical data-points or suggestions from the HBR article:
- Paying close attention to the feelings and emotions of the buyer as a key strategy and qualifier,
- Assessing how motivated the buyer is to work toward the success of our service and their offering
- How to make that relationship win-win and recognizing buyers that understand that no matter what option they choose, their efforts to support its success will be more important than the initial guesswork that led to either choosing us or another vendor.
It’s all about how to work together to make a decision that allows both organizations to drive toward success.
One of the key buying signs we here is what do you need from us to make this project successful? We often brushed over this question but now understand it’s a critical opportunity to gauge how much the prospect will help you be successful if they sign with you when things get tough. If you haven’t spent time on understanding how you are going to answer that question you’re missing a key qualifying opportunity. Here are a few questions we use.
- “Based upon your very recent past success in contacting new business accounts within Retail for example what made those companies chose to work with you and your company? Was it the ability to showcase a use study or case study relevant to their organization or how far are you willing to go to customize your sales presentation to win that account?”
If they can’t commit to helping further to define their strategy then they may just expect you to handle this on your own. We recently asked one of our client executives to help message further into a new group of decision makers that we were not targeting in the initial outbound calling effort. He not only jumped at the opportunity to help he improved our calling matrix, agreed to be available for more training if needed and truly spent time trying to help our call team with more targeted and unique messaging. Listen, he still cares about budget but it has helped tremendously and we value the partnership and are now avoiding spending time with the no decision or wrong decision prospect and instead focusing on the one’s that won’t worry about their decision but will work to help us.