With these low odds for success on the first call, don’t waste time pitching features and functionality. Better to spend your time learning the customer’s provocation for buying in your early sales calls. This approach is often referred to as a “Discovery , because the goal of early calls should be to discover the reasons behind the client’s need — the business provocation.
Unless you are selling something so new as to be viewed by your potential customer as a truly “Better Mousetrap,” the reality is that you are working with a customer who has probably looked at this issue before, and previously decided the that the timing was not right to address this problem. If the timing is now right for the customer, use the early calls with the Customer to learn the basics.
Sales Tactic: Determine the following:
The problem existed for some time, why is the Customer addressing it now? What has changed?
Who is it important to?
Who is it urgent to?
Understanding this intersection of importance and urgency can paint a better selling picture for us.
Ask yourself (and the customer!), “Why do they need a product at this particular time?”
Remember, fully 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact, so selling is a marathon, not a sprint. It is the rare sales call that will close with a single contact. Given the 2% likelihood for closing the deal in one call, why not take the time to gather the information you need to prepare for your future calls on this client. Gather information by seeking to understand the business provocation. In fact, that should probably be your goal for nearly all first calls on prospective customers.
The Nature of Sales is that the Customer is Very Well Informed. They don’t know everything, but they know a Lot. Discovery, like all other parts of the Process is different. The Intersection of Importance and Urgency will determine Real Prospects from those that are “Just Looking”
Or, as good friend says, it is Deductive or Inductive? More on that Later!