We had a great whale hunting session in Scottsdale last week working with the Asia/Pacific sales team of an international company. In the course of the workshop, they reached a very interesting and unexpected insight about their most promising business deals, which was this:
We are not closing the proposals that demonstrate the very best ROI for our prospects. In fact, on our very best proposals, where we believe we can have the biggest positive impact for our customers, we are only closing 20%. How would we explain that apparent anomaly? Something’s going on that they don’t understand. From a logical standpoint, the solution they offer in these best-of–class cases is a slam-dunk no brainer for the client. Yet after they present these proposals, the whales stall, ask for more time to consider, postpone their decision–back off from the whole deal. In whale hunting terms, the whale is afraid of something.
If you’re making great cost-savings proposals that your prospects are not buying, here are some underlying reasons that you might consider:
- Your proposal sounds “too good to be true.” The whale is afraid you cannot or will not make good on your promise.
- The whale does not fully understand how you will go about achieving this benefit and is afraid that your solution may cause unforeseen problems with their employees or vendors.
- The whale is afraid of making a mistake, leaving it with an untried system or process or solution or product which might produce a short-term gain but will soon become obsolete and dysfunctional.
- The whale is afraid that your solution is better suited for a different kind of enterprise than the whale’s.
- The whale does not need “the best” solution and the potential disruption that its implementation might cause–it only needs a “good enough” solution.
- The whale has other pains, problems, and opportunities that are more urgent or more important than the issue you propose to solve.
If you ever experience this kind resistance in your sales process, work with your team to brainstorm all of the possible explanations for the whale’s resistance. Even better, talk to the whales that have resisted your proposal and find out why. You may be amazed at the reasons you did not anticipate.