Have you ever noticed that there is a direct link between the customer’s sense of urgency and the size and timing of the salesperson’s commission checks? A similar relationship exists between the customer’s sense of urgency and your company’s ability to meet or exceed their forecasted revenue for the month, quarter or year.
It’s pretty simple really: customers who are motivated to move forward with a purchase decision favoring your product or service usually translates into increased revenue for the company, accompanied by some highly desirable compensational rewards that go to the sales team.
So, how many deals would you like to close next month? If you are similar to most red-blooded salespeople, your answer would probably be, “…as many as possible.” Of course you would like to close lots of sales! Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to maximize their opportunity?
When we insert the customer’s perspective into this equation, the discussion quickly changes. Customers don’t care how much money you’re hoping to make, nor are they concerned about your personal cash flow. Instead, decision makers tend to move forward when they are darned good and ready, and not before.
That said, is there anything we (as sellers) can do to increase the customer’s sense of urgency so some or all of the opportunities in your pipeline can actually close sooner rather than later? Fortunately, the answer in the world of Question Based Selling is a resounding, “Yes.”
The next question on every salesperson’s mind is, “How can you increase sales velocity without pushing customers too hard, or, without compromising the credibility and goodwill that has been established with them thus far?” This is where sales strategy and proven techniques separate top performing salespeople from the rest of the masses.
To me, an effective salesperson is someone who can understand, adjust, and respond appropriately as sales conversations take on various twists and turns on the way to securing a commitment to move forward. That’s where the QBS Methodology comes in—essentially as a conversational tool belt filled with tools and techniques that if used properly, can expedite the sales process.
For example, very few prospects open up right away and basically answer any question you might choose to ask. But, for those rare occasions where the customer is open to sharing information with a salesperson they don’t know or trust, you don’t need much of a sales strategy. For the majority of prospects who will remain skeptical and standoffish until you’ve earned some credibility with them, the question then becomes, “How can we gain more credibility sooner, as a way to speed up the sales process?”
Relative to needs development, the answer is simple—by using a technique we call Diagnostic Questions. Basically, if a conversational technique can accomplish four strategic objectives in less than sixty seconds, it will literally change the way you interact with customers. More importantly, it will change the way prospects and customers interact with you.
The Four Objectives of Diagnostic Questions:
1.) Kick off the needs development conversation in a non-threatening manner.
2.) Gather valuable information that helps guide the conversation.
3.) Establish your credibility as a valuable resource to the customer.
4.) Earn the right to get into more depth about potential issues and implications.
In Question Based Selling, this is just the beginning of a broader needs development strategy to gain more credibility sooner as a means of accelerating the sales process. This is documented in much more detail in Chapters 7 and 8 of my first book, Secrets of Question Based Selling.
Granted, this is only one of many examples of how a salesperson, by their words and/or actions, can cause potential customers to become more receptive, thereby accelerating the decision making process. Are there other examples I can give you? Sure, that’s why I published five books and deliver customized training classes every week to sales disciplines ranging from the energy industry, to pharmaceutical sales, manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, technology, etc.
Bottom line: A salesperson’s actions can impact sales velocity to create a greater sense of urgency that will ultimately speed up the sales process. How can you know if you’re on the right track? Just ask yourself this question: “How many reasons does this customer have to buy from me?” The more reasons they have to move forward, the easier it is to create competitive separation, get funding, and motivate others who also need to sign off on the purchase. It’s that simple.
By the way, if you really want customers to have a greater sense of urgency, and at the same time increase your sales performance, you might also ask yourself a few other important questions, like:
– “How many reasons does this prospect have to meet with me?”
– “How many reasons do they have to return my calls?”
– “How many reasons do they have to recommend me to others within the organization?”
– “How many reasons do they have to feel confident that they are making a good decision?”
– “How many reasons do they have to ‘want to’ share information with a salesperson they don’t yet know or trust?”
Can you see a trend here? The more reasons people have to do anything makes it easier for them to pull the trigger on moving forward in the relationship, and ultimately make a favorable purchase decision. More traction with potential customers and a greater sense of urgency enabling them to move forward sooner, creates the sales velocity needed to fill pipelines and consummate transactions. Engrain this philosophy in your daily routines and success becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And that, my friends, is how you sell lots of stuff…and boost your income in the process!