It’s no surprise that what prospects hate aligns with what sales reps hate
All you need is love.
Even in sales, all you need is to love the process. Loving the process is the solution. Hating the process is the problem. Solving that problem will allow you to close more deals.
When people come to me for advice on how to close more sales, I ask them to examine their sales process. Tell me what you love about it and what you hate about it.
Most reps hate the same few things, and it so happens that when you look at the data about what people feel about sales professionals in general, prospects hate these things about sales professionals.
Three of those align with what sales reps tell me they hate about their process:
- They talk too much
- They fail to understand prospect’s needs
- They lack of follow up
They align with the following things reps hate about their process:
- The process of discovery
- A weak discovery
- Follow up
Talk too much | Discovery process
Discovery requires you to ask probing questions. In the discovery process, you uncover information so you can present a solution to the problems your prospect reveals.
Sales reps hate this because they are worried they lack the confidence that they have enough product knowledge or situational knowledge to advance the prospect. They feel like they’re asking too many questions so instead they feature dump. Meanwhile, the prospect hates it because the sales rep is talking too much.
Set the agenda in advance, and plan to use your ears more than your mouth. Tell them you’re going to ask a lot of questions. Let them know that the purpose of those questions is to gain insight so you can provide the best solutions for them. That will get them comfortable in advance that they’re going to have to talk a lot, and it will mean you’ll be listening more in general.
Fail to understand needs | Weak discovery
The second thing people hate about sales reps also relates to the discovery process. They say they hate that we fail to understand their needs. When that happens, it’s because the discovery process is weak, which frustrates reps because it usually means they have been given a flawed script to work with.
Anchor them down to the one thing they say is their biggest problem. Don’t decide that in advance and put it in a script. Listen to the prospect and identify what they tell you is the biggest pain point. Here’s how you do it.
“So you’re telling me XYZ is the reason your revenue is not where you want it to be, correct?”
When they confirm, tell them to go deeper into that specific issue so you can identify a solution.
“Tell me more about that.”
When you do that, you can’t base your discovery on a script. A script is weak because it’s going to be designed to drive them to the product you WANT to sell, not the one each unique prospect reveals they really NEEDS for their business. Hear them out, then design a solution to fit their unique needs.
Lack follow up | Following up
The fact that this is on the list for either camp is discouraging. Most deals are closed only after multiple follow ups. Most sales reps clearly don’t see the value of follow up, and even if they do, they aren’t doing it effectively.
It’s so simple. We’ve talked about this here before. Schedule the follow up in advance and automate follow up. The first follow up should be automated to go out immediately. The subsequent ones need to go on your calendar.
Nobody will get upset on the follow up. If the prospect tells you “Hey i’m not interested anymore, please don’t call me again,” then you step off.
But as long as you have permission to follow up, you need to continue to do so.
Sales requires you to love the entire process. If you only love the part where your prospect signs a contract or you deliver the goods, well, there’s a lot more steps that you hate. Love the process, and you’ll close more deals.