Our guest post today comes from our Certified Partner in Southern Florida, Barbara Hauser. Thanks Barbara!
You remember the old commercials – when you were asked to make a forced choice between two good options? In syncing up with your prospect, I say you need both – good rhythm and good timing. A successful sales person almost instinctively knows that a winning process includes getting into the customer’s sales cycle as early as possible and at a time when you can still prepare your team to deliver – especially, when hunting whales. But once you get in the cycle, you’ll find that the customer’s rhythm is almost always a surprise – and different from yours and what you are imaging. Just like a good dance partner, as a vendor, you’re only as attractive as your ability to both follow and lead during the sales process.
What does that mean? Five keys to feeling the rhythm include:
1. Ask for an example of how a similar project was implemented. Check for the steps (the what they did), but equally important, how long it took to go from step A to step B.
2. Plot it out on a graph and match it with your team’s capability to deliver on each step. Often you’ll find that you’re either ahead or behind.
3. Make a preemptive decision about how you’ll handle the lag time and communicate that to the prospect. “Mary, I can see where we’ll potentially be out of sync between my available resources to demo the optional features of our product and the dates you’ll anticipate wanting a demo.” Be ready to strategize.
4. Anticipate what your client doesn’t see. Suggest: “In similar situations, we’ve found it necessary to get additional licensing from the State to perform step 6. Can you see that coming up?”
5. Make sure you stay connected during the sales process. You end up stepping on your prospects toes when you fail to check in on a regular basis. You catch potential hiccups and put yourself in a better position not to miss a turn and respond with grace when you stay in the loop.
Good timing and good rhythm make the sales process feel good and pay off.
Barbara Hauser is a Whale Hunter partner and business coach located in South Florida. With over 20 years experience with business clients worldwide, she specializes in leadership and communication.
Thanks for the guest post Barbara! I like your practical suggestions. I especially endorse the preemptive discussion about lag time. There are real consequences to the customer if certain decisions are delayed; specifically, will your resources still be available at the time they decide on? Talking this through at the appropriate time is a very good practice.