Today’s post is by Kevin Doddrell, vice president of Revenue Storm.
A quick Google search of “Seven Great Lies” will return lists about marketing, parenting, politicians, and so much more. Not one to be left out of a trend, I wanted to present my version – sales style.
So often salespeople are quick to accept that everything told to us by prospects and customers is good and true. Of course! We are optimists by trade and respect a good pitch; it’s in our nature to believe what we hear, especially when it supports our plan. The opportunity is awesome! The client loves me! The deal is cruising to a close.
Well, I’m here to interject a little reality and provide a test to see if you have heard any of these great lies of selling before. Read carefully, think hard, and be honest –’- your deal is depending on it.
Lie #1: “I am the decision maker” – This is the classic of all lies. If you were really unfortunate, this would have been followed with, “So, therefore, there is no need to talk to anyone else.” Here is the weird thing – some people who tell you this often believe it to be true. They too are fooling themselves.
The truth: In a complex B2B sales cycle there is no one single decision maker. You are dealing with myriad influences and opinions and the decision will always be made by this blend of influences and persuasions.
Action: Seek out all the decision makers and influencers to create a complete approach.
Lie #2: “I am very interested; please send me a proposal” – This is the classic pass-off and is the way a person will end a meeting when they really have no intention of moving forward. It’s a lot like, “I’ll call you.”
The truth: You didn’t grab this person’s attention and he doesn’t want to deliver the hard truth. Most likely your proposal will be lost in his inbox.
Action: Submit a proposal only once you have commitment from the prospect to collaborate.
Lie #3: “The decision is going to be made on price” – Unless you are in a totally commoditized single-product comparison, this is always not true.
The truth: In a B2B sales environment there are always multiple influences that will come into play from people who are not interested by price.
Action: Go back to your pitch and work on your value proposition and demonstrate to the prospect that your solution delivers value beyond that of the competitors.
Lie #4: “I will come back to you on this next week” – About 90 percent of the time, this means, “I do not really have an interest in this, but I do not want to confront you with it – please go away.”
The truth: Human beings typically avoid conflict and would rather just smooth things over without disappointing you.
Action: This is your cue to expand your sales cycle with other influencers and decision makers in the organization to gain buy-in.
Lie #5: “The procurement process will be easy” – Maybe no one believes this one very often, but hope can be a trap. Understand that procurement is a political animal within its own right.
The truth: Many a deal has been stalled and then been defeated by procurement.
Action: Work proactively to learn the procurement processes early and do not leave it till the last minute. This includes building relationships and creating a strategy for walking your deal through this important gauntlet.
Lie #6: “She has no time available in the next two weeks” – It’s easy to fall for this one, yet it indicates that you do not rate in the priority of things that are important.
The truth: Yes, your target executive is busy, but if your deal was strategic, it would have her full attention.
Action: Reposition your offering to sync with the strategic priorities of her organization.
Lie #7: “Everything is good” – You need to take lies 1-6 into consideration and not fool yourself into thinking everything is wonderful. It is a disservice to yourself, your company, and your customers.
The truth: B2B selling is complex, with many moving parts, agendas, and political landmines. In other words, there is a lot that can go wrong.
Action: Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security – keep selling!