Having acquired a taste for sales, I can see why every sales person runs after their prospects to understand what they are looking for in the tool we are selling. Initially when they come into our CRM we profile them to understand who they are and where they are from. We immediately send them follow up emails and calls to connect with them. And when we do finally connect with them, we drown them with continuous questions asking them,
What made them to check out our tool?
Do they have a specific requirement?
When do they want to start using it?
Not every prospect who walks into your website or signs up knows what they are looking for. As a salesperson we unconsciously mine our prospect for info, but give them nothing in return. Unless the call is a demo, where we show them the tool and the value they are looking for, the regular audio call isn’t of much help. Pitching in a regular call moves to realisation only when the prospect goes back to our tool to test it or allows us to demonstrate it.
Unless the Prospect is clear of what he exactly needs with a tool, he might not be able to answer us and throwing multiple questions at him doesn’t really help. Asking questions and filling up a questionnaire doesn’t really make sense if these questions aren’t leading the prospect to move to a purchasing decision. Some of them who wander into our tool cannot be our customers as they are looking for something else, and came to us by mistake. Thus the questions we ask them needs to carefully designed so that we discover their genuine needs and not feel exhausted being at the answering end. So when we connect with prospects, we could actually be talking to people who:
- Don’t know what they want or looking for..
- Don’t match to what we have to offer
- Are more confident in our tool’s capability than us (!)
- Are going to ask things which are difficult to give them
- Who would not buy our tool, though we are a right fit.
With these uncertainties in play, a discovery call needs to be much better planned. Here are the 3 mantras that have worked for me:
- Know Whom to Ask
We need to be careful not just to get information from prospects to spoon feed them the matching features, but also paint a vision in their brain about whom the tool would benefit in the long term and is not just solving the short term goal. This happens only when the prospect is a good prospect who has the right need. He not only would answer your questions, but would also be eager to test the tool himself. Thus asking the right questions to the right person is important to stride further.
2) It Begins With Establishing Trust:
If the discussion gives the impression of a prolonged interrogation without winning the prospect’s confidence, the conversation would drain the prospect’s energy. He might feel that there’s a salesbot rather a human being at the other end of the call. Every call is a means to make an impression in the minds of the prospect. Only when a Prospect looks up to us with confidence and give us their problem, we can make a successful pitch of the value that we provide and win the sale. Thus it is the trust the prospect have on you that wins the sale, even if you have the best tool in the market. Thus the first call is about making them realise they are in safe hands and the salesperson they are connecting with is an SME.
3) Help Them See The Bigger Picture:
Most prospect who come to us are looking to solve a small part of the big problem and want to solve these small parts because they face a major impact in their business. However as a product specialist and a seasoned salesperson, we can make them understand what the tool is capable of and how the tool can solve the problem completely. As prospects just tell you what they *think* they want, they don’t realise the source of their *thought*, ie what are the bigger pieces of the puzzle that could be the source of the problem. Thus it is critical that we impart the full capability of the tool and align with the deeper value the prospect is seeking. We do not just solve the immediate problem, but open his third eye unveil to see the bigger picture….
When the call ends, the prospect would have a take away. You cannot buy customer’s engagement, because you need to build it and for this he should realise we serve and not sell…. And that’s what the prospect should take with him after your call.