Activity versus Productivity

Do you know the difference? There may be a lot of activity going on, but nothing is happening. Sound familiar? Many of my clients complain that a few of their prospects are literally “sucking the life” out of them. You may know what I mean. Prospects ask questions. Come back later for more information. You leave phone calls and send emails but don’t get any replies. And then a few weeks later, they’re back again, asking more questions. Just when you were about to step away and not bother to pursue that lead any longer, they’ve hooked you again. And the process continues.

What’s happening? In most cases, Buyers Drive Sales. Through meetings, phone calls, emails and online browsing, your prospect can learn a lot of information before they decide to buy. They will keep asking questions and sound very interested in what you have to offer – but THEY are in the driver’s seat.

How do you stop it? You make a plan. YOU decide how the sales process will proceed. It’s OK to give out some information, but you have to keep your prospect wanting more. We all have to nurture our prospects. But at some point in time, you have to draw the line. I think some people are afraid to lose a good prospect and so they never stand firm. They keep supplying more information.

Armed and dangerous.
The problem is, these prospects are using the information against you. Without your knowledge, they’re either talking to other businesses like yours or they’re doing lots of research online. While you may think that you will lose the sale when you stop providing information, the fact is, you’re wasting time. If the prospect really respects you and wants to do business with you, when you stand firm, they’ll cross the line into your court.

How to stand firm. Determine beforehand how much information you will give a prospect before you sit down with him/her for a serious meeting. When more demands are made, have a response ready. Here are some suggestions:

You know, it sounds like this is something you are seriously considering for your company. Am I right?

Wow, you’re really serious aren’t you? Let’s set a time a place to sit down and have an in-depth discussion – maybe you can invite other members of your management team too.

It sounds like you are getting closer to a decision – what’s your budget?

Tell you what, let’s sit down and discuss your needs. You can give me an idea of the budget you have for this project and I can give you an idea of what we could do for that budget – sound fair?

I’ll lose the prospect.
The comments above determine whether your prospect is serious about making a decision or not. You may lose the prospect – but you may also lose a prospect who is not going to make a decision at all – he or she will just keep putting it off. For some companies, putting off making a decision is exactly what they intend on doing – even if they’re not aware of it. If your prospect is truly interested in working with YOU, either you’ll get the meeting you’ve asked for, or they’ll decline, but keep your information on hand for when they CAN make the go-ahead decision.

Trust your instincts. And trust your expertise. There will always be customers who are price driven. They will look long and hard for someone who will the job for less money than you. These are not the customer you want. There’s always someone who can, and will, do the job for slightly less money. Instead, you want customer who respect your knowledge and want to work with you.

Need help with sales? Marketing is actually a pre-sales process. We can create a strategy for you and your sales team to follow. If you would like your sales experts to get back in the driver’s seat, give us a call at 301-467-2501.

Leave a Reply