Nov. 19, 2019

25: How to stop confusion from slowing down your sales opportunities


Ever been confronted with an inconsistent or confusing prospect, but not sure how to react ... Keenan has 4 favorite words to help you get into the tough conversation that is needed.Support the show (http://www.unstoppable.do)
Transcript
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Ever been confronted with an inconsistent or confusing prospect, but not sure exactly how to react. Kenan has four of his favorite words in his book gap selling that will help you get into a tough conversation that's so needed.

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welcome to the bite size sales podcast where we believe that sales is the most important team and a B2B company, that the sales team deserves great sales skills training but usually doesn't get it and that taking bite-size steps each day to get better at your craft is the best way to improve results. I am your host, Andrew Monahan , and I'm using my experiences in B2B sales to bring you simple actionable ideas every day to help you get better

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One of the common problems I hear from sellers but also from managers and leaders is around the pace of deals or probably more accurately the lack of pace of deal. Deal momentum is being a challenge with almost every company I've worked with over the last few years and also when I was running sales teams as well. You know, I, I don't even thinking back, I don't think I know any team that's selling deals of any real significant size who claimed to be really happy with their speed of the deal cycle, the sales cycle, you know, they just don't seem to go as fast as we want to. There's always things that seem to slow them down and it causes problems. It causes problems with forecasting, it causes problems with delivering on our promises. It causes problems with our own goals, things like that. There's lots of downstream impacts about slow deals. So anything that we can do to speed things up or just try and improve things a little bit can have a big difference in terms of our results. And there's lots of reasons why deals are slow and it's going to vary a little bit from organization to organization and prospect prospect about what the root cause is. But also there's some common things that happen again and again. In fact, the challenger customer , uh , the book that came out and the research that was done , um, after , uh, the challenger sale , um, talks about this, it talks about the, the, the big problem in the selling world where we're trying to get one person to get a whole bunch of people on board with the change that has to happen. And this is where a deal is dies, where a deal is slow down . It's a , it's a big step. You know, when I think about when I talk to people these days , uh, one of the challenges people do come up with a lot is they sense confusion and in consistencies with what the says, right? It might be just that the prospect not entirely sure themselves about all the different things are going on. And when they speak to us, they, they say things that they're not entirely sure about and they seem to contradict each other and things like that. But also there's an inconsistency is right. They might be telling us things that we want to hear and they say that in the meeting, but then go and do something differently afterwards. Or maybe when they let their guard down a little bit and uh, you know, the inconsistency is come home to roost a little bit and you can sit there and go, well that's weird because half an hour ago they said something completely different. So these things do come up in the course of conversations, but it can be challenging to call it out , right? We feel often that this is a , a tough conversation if you're early in your relationship . So this is a conversation, the first call and the discovery call, a second call, you know, it can feel a little bit challenging to say, you know, this is not right. There's something going on here. I'm , you know, you're not saying something that seems to be consistent. So, but this is not something that we could ignore. We can't just let it go by because that's where, you know , we'll get affected downstream . Right? Further down the sales cycle when there is that lack of clarity that will come home to roost and deals, you know, slow down and fall apart and you know, visions become less clear. But what's supposed to happen? So taking control of this situation earlier rather than later is at least going to help avoid some of those slowdowns that might come from these ins consistencies. So they might avoid some of the misunderstandings that we might have about what's important and not important to prospects. So how do you have that conversation? What's the way to get into that? And in his book gap selling, Keenan actually addresses this. He has it under a section that he as she calls my four favorite words. So let me read directly from the book. There's a reason I suggested you challenge your buyers starting with the words. I'm confused. You said those four words in that order are four of my favorites. They are powerful. I love using them to challenge buyers and prospects, which is exactly what you need to do when you spot inconsistencies between what buyers say they want in their future state and the methods, approaches and decision criteria that they're using to get there. Your ability to identify, call out or resolve these inconsistencies is a measure of the added value you bring as a salesperson. You need to get good at it. It's not always easy. Challenging your customers without tact. Diplomacy or grace can make them feel incompetent and attentive or insecure, which is not conducive to the collaborative, enthusiastic mindset you want your customer to have when you're gap selling. No one likes to be called out for their mistakes, but sometimes you have to do it. A doctor would never continue ineffective treatments just because letting patients know it wasn't working would be embarrassing. Seeing applies hears by prefacing your challenge with, I'm confused. You said you give buyers away to save face. Those two words suggest you're inviting discussion, not indicting them or attacking them for being wrong. I'm confused or maybe I was under the impression or I thought allows for the possibility that the mistake is yours. This gives you leeway to encourage introspection instead of defensiveness and to engage in a discussion rather than a debate. Learning to identify inconsistencies between what buyers say they want and the decisions that they make is critical to gap selling and moving deals forward. Starting with, I'm confused. You said before, listen , the inconsistencies or discrepancies you find confusing is one of the best ways to disarm your prospect. Invite a discussion and resolve problems before they start. So that's right from the book. And to me this is a super simple way to softly get into what can be quite a tough conversation. You know, one of the things that , uh, I think it says in there if people might get defensive or they might even get angry with you for calling if they feel like you're calling them at , right? So how you go about this has to be done carefully. And what I like about it as well is it puts the idea on the table that the weakness , uh , the thing that's missing might be on you, not on them. Even though in reality the way is happening is you're essentially calling them up , but , but doing in a very polite and very positive way. And it does get you into a much needed and important conversation, especially if this is early on in the sales cycle where you don't want, you know , you're to pass to the verge , then can, you're on the same page as them. So the question is, you know, how do you, how do you use this? How do you make it a habit? We can use our habit forming formula , um, which goes, you know, when you hear in consistencies or confusion for the customer is saying, instead of avoiding a conversation or instead of avoiding having the discussion and asking them questions, I will say I'm confused you said, and then lead that into a discussion that needs to be had.

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the episode is sponsored by unstoppable dot du . Most sales teams are not trained effectively in the skills and mindset they deserve. And these are the most important people in the company. It's no wonder that only about 50% of reps make quarter every year. Unstoppable is a service that helps sellers and leaders get great at the skills and mindset they need without taking time out of the field. It exists because if the sales team has the right skills and mindset, they thrive. They are confident,

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and they perform much better. Find out more and even get a free sales book@bitesizesales.com

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no. To wrap up as Chad Boyer, a VP of sales at [inaudible] instinct may or may not have one set training with our implementation is just entertainment and preparer entertainment when Monaghan does it. So make sure you take action on what you learn and keep getting better every day. This world does not need more sales BS, so don't create any more . Be great at the fundamentals. Be honest, be real. Be yourself. Just do not be us . And finally, I'm setting off as the great Joe Sexton would by saying, gone to sell

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