3 Steps to Close More Deals More Quickly
The Importance of Creating, Connecting and Rehearsing
By Tony Cole, CEO & Co-Owner of Anthony Cole Training Group
Recently, I worked on an opportunity that hit a snag. Coincidentally, at the suggestion of Dave Kurlan at Objective Management Group, I was reading SALES EQ by Jeb Blount. Based on the 29 pages I’ve read so far, I think I’ve figured out why we – the stakeholders and I – were stuck.
SITUATION: The stakeholders were looking for a solution to a management problem. Based on their previous experiences, I had a vision of what that solution would and should look like – Sales Management Coaching.
WHY WE WERE STUCK:
- I succeeded in uncovering the emotional motivation for taking action, but I have also introduced additional factors my prospect must now consider because these new factors will help solve the root cause of the problem(s) they face.
- These additional factors have created cognitive dissonance for the stakeholders and they are now in a pattern of trying to reconcile 1) what they initially thought they needed with 2) this “shiny new object” (this new solution) that makes sense to them but something they weren’t prepared to deal with.
- I failed to meet with one of the money decision makers. This isn’t always a problem, but in this case, it is a problem because he has no emotional attachment to the new direction regarding the solution.
cognitive dissonance (noun) 1.the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.
3 STEPS TO CLOSE MORE DEALS MORE QUICKLY (To Keep Deals from Getting “Stuck”)
- You must create cognitive dissonance (show them the “shiny new object”). This is done when you can express a value proposition, a brand promise, a catalytic mechanism that sets you apart and keeps you from looking, sounding and acting like everyone else selling anything else.
- NOTE: This is important! Keep in mind that your prospects face lots of salespeople in many various aspects of their life. They’ve been inundated with sales pitches and so are numb to the same old, same old.
- You must find a way to connect your pitch to their experience. Mitch Anthony and Scott West do a great job of helping sales professionals do this in their book – Story Selling for Financial Advisors
- NOTE: Don’t let the title fool you or discourage you. The principles of right brain selling work and make a difference in even the most left brain worlds like engineering and technology.
- You must “rehearse” their decision-making. What I mean by this is that, no matter whether they go to committee, work with other trusted advisors, talk to partners, run it up the ladder, think it over or talk to spouse, the buyer(s) will go through a process of:
- Remembering their original intent and trying to reconcile that original direction with the new information/potential solution you provided.
- Then, assuming for a minute that your solution expanded their thinking and may require they expand their wallet, your prospect will start left brain thinking (logic). Depending on their finances, they may default to their original plan with someone else (they trust) simply because of the money involved.
- **NOTE: “Rehearsing them” simply means that you must take them through the process of their thinking. Ask them what they will do when someone on the committee challenges their thinking. What will they do when the current provider sharpens their pencil? How will they deal with a partner who doubts or challenges a solution that differs from the original objective(s)?
This last step is where I failed and we did not get the business. The prospect selected another provider that delivered a solution that aligned more directly with their original approach. I had not rehearsed my contact on how to properly position and defend the enhanced solution. My takeaway is that I need to always learn from my experiences and adjust my approach. The next one is right around the corner and now I am ready!