Enough of “No”; It’s time for us to take a look at the 4 steps you can take to get to a “Yes” with those prospects you have effectively rated as good candidates for the partnership. If you’ve effectively avoided any treacherous “Maybe” along the way, your chance for a “Yes” is already starting from a much higher place; Now comes the fun part!
Any attempt to get to “Yes” with your prospects should begin with a full NEADS analysis (yes, I know: it’s misspelled again … I’m getting there). NEADS is an acronym that I borrowed (and slightly modified – sorry Tom) from sales coach extraordinaire Tom Hopkins. Hopkins talks about the sales process as a series of questions that lead to a logical conclusion, the proverbial “closure” (or, as I like to think of it, conversion). This article will discuss the first three letters of the acronym: N, E, and A.
The N stands for now, as in “How are you dealing with [insert specific challenge uncovered during discovery] now? “The point of this question is to establish a baseline for the rest of the discussion, the foundation on which your presentation will be built. If you don’t know where you are starting from, you will never know when you reached your destination, or if you even needed to leave. first.
Finding out how the potential customer is currently handling the problem that you would like to help them solve will also help you establish the thought process behind how they make decisions. In fact, you might ask something like “Out of curiosity, how did you decide to use that solution?” This information will be critical later when you create your solution.
In the meantime, you should be aware that sometimes the answer to the question Now is … nothing. Sometimes you’ll be the first to hit, the first to try to heal the prospect’s pain. Of course, other times you will be faced with a deeply ingrained headline. Both situations have their particular challenges, so know in advance what you are dealing with. Hence the importance of the Now question.
The E stands for Enjoy, as in what the potential customer enjoys, likes, or even loves about your current solution. Sometimes we get so excited about sharing our solution that we don’t take the time to find out if the potential customer really wants a sea change. That may be what we think is best, but we are not the ones making the decisions. Find out what the potential customer enjoys (and why!) And plan to give them more of the same.
This is pretty basic when you think about it: If a prospect is really looking for certain aspects of the solution they have now, who are you to move the boat? Wouldn’t it be better to find a way to integrate those aspects into your offering, perhaps even enhancing or enhancing them in some way? Remember: humans don’t always like big changes, and past buying habits will have a significant impact on future buying decisions. You will have a chance to get creative in the next part.
The A stands for Alter. In other words, what would the prospect like to change, if given the opportunity, about their current solution? Would you like it in a different color? Perhaps a more elegant design? Perhaps friendlier customer service representatives? Listen to everything they have to say and take lots of notes … this will be the core of the solution you will eventually present!
However, what if you ask question A and your prospect says, “Nothing; we like it the way it is”? At that point, you may have to coax a bit to elicit a response from them. One of the best ways I’ve seen to do that is the Wedge Technique introduced by Randy Schwantz in his book “How to Get Your Competition Fired Without Saying Nothing Bad About Them.” In it, Schwantz tells salespeople to come up with something they do better than their competitors, and then use that difference to create a question that will drive a wedge between their potential customer and their current supplier.
You might ask something like “So when your current provider conducts monthly audits of your network security, how do they present their findings to you?” Knowing full well that your current provider does not conduct monthly audits of your network security. Suddenly, the potential customer has discovered that there is something they would like to change about their current solution after all.
These three questions will form the basis for the solution that you will create for the prospect, but have not yet done so. First, you need to understand the D in NEADS – how your customer makes decisions. That will be the subject of the next article. Cheers until then!