Control has a tendency to have a negative meaning for people, usually because at sometime early in their life they had a bad experience when it came to control.
What we are talking about, though, is not bad control or bad experiences. We don’t mean being how salespeople are sometimes characterized—pushy, rude, or offensive.
Control means positively guiding a prospect through the sales process. At the beginning of that process, you must use good communication to discover exactly what your prospect is seeking in a product or service such as yours. Doing so will demonstrate to you, and to them, that your product or service is a match for their vision.
If this is done right, and both of you realize your product is indeed a good fit, you end up with the perfect definition of a sale, which is “an exchange in which both parties win.”
It is easy, though, when a salesperson has a prospect in front of them who is somewhat qualified, for that salesperson to become anxious to push for the close. When this happens, the salesperson often stops listening to the prospect, who may very well be giving them the reasons they want to buy, which can be used to bring them gracefully through the sales process.
Instead, the salesperson skips ahead to the Education step of the sales process, spilling out all the reasons the salesperson thinks the prospect should buy. Or, worse, they try to skip right to the close, at which they will fail miserably.
The sales process provides a very necessary degree of control for the salesperson in bringing about the sale. That means that every step or stage of the sales process must be completed before the next one is begun.
When a salesperson becomes overly anxious and starts skipping sales process steps, they abandon that positive control. Losing control, in most cases, means losing the sale.
Anxiety can be intensified when a prospect is trying to push the salesperson through the sales process, doing something like demanding the price well before it should be revealed to them.
The wise salesperson will politely acknowledge the person, saying, “Yes, that’s very important and we’re going to address that.” And then just patiently continuing to guide the prospect through the sales process.
You could view the potential sale as an onion, and the sales process as carefully peeling off the layers of the onion, one by one, in as comfortable a manner as possible. At the core of the onion is the prospect’s goal, and the prospect is trying to get there but does not know how, so comes to you to help guide them.
During the sale, the prospect may demand that you address the 4th layer when you are still on the 1st. You can’t because you have got to carefully peel off those first 3 layers to get there. By all means, note down what the prospect says, and let them know you have done so and will take it up in due course.
But stay with the sales process, making sure to get every layer of that onion completely dealt with before moving onto the next.
Do not lose sales to anxiety! Stay true to that sales process.
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