Young business people today struggle with how to sell and the Social Media platform is not helping the situation. Selling is an active, interpersonal skillset that is not necessarily nurtured through the heavy use of Social Media. Social Media is intended to foster relationship and conversation between you, your friends, and other like-minded people. When you are selling, they may not be quite ready to hear what you have to say (at first). In effect, it might be relatively easy to sell something to your friends, but let’s face it, not all of your customers are your friends. You have to be patient in the beginning because credibility isn’t built overnight. Unfortunately, our culture is no longer patience-savvy.
It took me a long time to learn a simple thing: A Prospect is different from a Suspect. A Prospect must have the need, ability, desire and authority to purchase. I call that NADA. If one or more components of the NADA are missing = no sale. You only had a Suspect.
Recently, I read about a proposed sales scenario where a person named Jenny was very excited about a product, but needed to check with the Boss before the purchase. DANGER SIGNS!!!!
Did Jenny have NADA?
-Need (Yes. She wanted to use the product to solve a problem)
-Ability (Yes. She knew the company could probably afford to pay for the service)
-Desire (Yes. She definitely believed the product would solve a problem)
-Authority (No. She could not say “yes.” to the purchase.)
What was missing? The Authority was missing. Who had the Authority? Possibly the person controlling the budget (the Boss)?
Was Jenny a Prospect or Suspect? Jenny was only a Suspect. She was never a qualified Prospect and the sales rep wasted his time by not getting in front of the decision maker.
You must always “qualify” the person as a Prospect. If they are NOT a Prospect, they are usually a Suspect. Key to any sales success is asking the right questions to qualify the sale. This is selling to a committee, the hardest part of the whole process. Early on, you must find out who is involved in the process, who controls the budget, what is there a budget, and most importantly, what does success look like after the sale?
Beware, employees often protect their “turf” as a representative of the “boss” and will not tell you the whole story. You must be part detective and part confident. Qualify your prospects and you’ll increase your close rate.
Initiate the conversation, be patient. Keep the conversations going. Sales success includes an ending (close the conversation) and re-open it another day.
Ron Simmons/SBDC Area Director 770-531-5681