Why Prospect Development is Crucial in the Modern Business Environment
July 10, 2019 Comment off
You’ve most likely heard that traditional sales strategy of ABC: “Always Be Closing.” This is because closing the deal is not only the most important part of the sales process but ultimately the most difficult to accomplish.
But in the modern business environment, rather than being constantly fixated on closing the deal it’s more beneficial to focus your attention on whether a prospect is a good fit for your business. Developing a prospect is reliant on ensuring you’re selling to the right people, adjusting your focus accordingly, and growing your understanding of their key challenges.
Understand your ideal prospect
Selling to the wrong targets is a common mistake that every salesperson makes at some point in their career. It’s almost certainly as a result of approaching a wide audience of prospects, as opposed to narrowing down to an ideal prospect list.
Your ideal prospect could meet a number of criteria, from industry and job title to a specific department of the organisation. Regardless, knowing who your ideal prospect is and taking a targeted approach will not only save time, effort and resources but also enhance your chances of closing more deals.
Start off by eliminating businesses that are not an ideal prospect, then narrow down your ideal prospects – businesses that want to work with you and have the right level of budget to do so – and focus your efforts on getting in front of them.
Hone in on prospects’ challenges
There are few things more frustrating than getting into a meeting with a prospect only for them to turn around and say “actually, this product/solution isn’t a good fit for us.” This common occurrence is highly avoidable through prior planning and preparation and focusing on prospects’ key challenges.
Do your homework on prospects’ needs and requirements, then focus your sales strategy and build an offering that is honed towards solving their specific problem. Don’t present a solution that goes beyond their challenges or isn’t directly tailored to their individual issue, as this will only lessen the chances of closing the deal.
Taking this approach will also demonstrate to your prospect that you have a strong understanding of their business and are best positioned to solve their challenges.
Focus on feedback
Prospect feedback is fundamentally important from the very beginning of your sales interaction all the way through until you’re ready to close the deal. There can be a tendency for salespeople to get too comfortable as the conversation advances and, as a result, you end up just talking to – or at – the prospect without securing feedback.
Ensure that salespeople are asking questions of their prospects in a bid to attract feedback wherever possible. Checking that a solution they’ve presented makes sense to the prospect can go a long way to honing your product or service to their requirements and increase the chances of sealing the deal.
Drop the close
The general process of selling is about confirming whether there’s a fit between your organisation and the prospect. Asking the right questions and having the right questions that determine if there’s a need or requirement for your product or service, and if there’s sufficient budget available to purchase it.
So, with these tactics implemented, feedback secured and the solution designed to address the specific challenges, you should now be in a position to drop the close on your qualified prospect. But even now, closing the deal doesn’t have to mean a “hard close,” but instead choosing the right moment to get the prospect on board. This should be as simple as asking “How do we get started?”
The modern sales process shouldn’t be a series of hard selling and pushing for the “hard close” but a series of conversations that gradually shape a solution to a prospect’s core challenges.
Always be prospecting
The “Always Be Closing” was popularised by Alec Baldwin when he starred as an aggressive sales representative in Glengarry Glen Ross back in 1992. While his tactics in the movie were effective things have changed in the near three decades since. The modern customer is savvier, has more choice readily available to them and are far less susceptible to manipulative hard selling techniques.
Instead, your sales teams need to take an approach of “always be prospecting.” The core principles of ABC still apply, in that every action a salesperson takes needs to be aimed towards encouraging the prospect further down the sales fun and gaining deeper insight into their needs and better positioning a product or service to them. But taking the approach of better qualifying your prospects and narrowing down your target audience should have a positive impact on your closing success and make your sales organisation more profitable.