If your business serves large organizations, you’ll note that just like tornado season, there are seasons when you’re flooded with opportunities.
You’re busy working with prospects, determining requirements, answering questions and getting out proposals. You start to dream: “if I convert only [insert your percentage here] X% of these leads I’ll blow through my sales forecast!” You dream of how much money you’ll be able to take out of the business. You tell your spouse… your friends… (and worst of all) your investors, your board, or your banker.
And then everything goes quiet.
Then we’re left justifying why everything went quiet, but the ugly truth is the majority of activity was from people just doing a bit of research.
How do we change this pattern? Here are two tips that should help:
- Don’t be so anxious to demonstrate your product. Ask probing questions to get an overview of the prospect’s company, department, how purchases are made, who will play a role in the decision making process, and what role does the person you’re talking to play. If you don’t do this at the beginning of your “relationship” you will not easily be able to approach it later without causing friction and dramatically reducing the quality of answers your prospects give you.
- Reduce the amount of time invested moving the person from “researcher” to “prospect”. Find ways to offload the knowledge transfer. Evaluate your website: does it provide sufficient information for a prospect to properly evaluate your offering? Review your marketing efforts: are they designed to drive people to your website? If so, do they leverage landing pages for the different market segments you’re targeting? Each with valuable, targeted content?
But the real way to change this pattern has to do with being able to create a map of the decision making process of the prospect. One of my first entries for this blog was Why Do Small Businesses Stay… small? I followed this up with an interview of an industry innovator, Richard Hodapp, the creator of Decision MAPping. I highly recommend you read the post and listen to the interview. They provide the most valuable knowledge I believe I’ve ever learned in my 30 years of starting and running SBE’s.
Running an SBE is like…
What’s it “like” to you?
Managing Director, The Allasso Group