You’ve been working with a prospect, getting them engaged and interested in your product or service. Everything seems to be moving along. Every interaction you’ve had so far has been positive. The person seems ready to buy. You’re convinced that you’re on track to win the business. Then, suddenly, dead silence. No response. No conversation. No returned phone calls. What did you miss? Is there any way to motivate the prospect to complete the deal?
Can you really motivate anyone? The answer is no. You can't get someone to do something that they don't want to do. Pushing and prodding will not lead to success if the prospect doesn’t have a reason to act. Yet, everyone is motivated by something. Your job, as a sales professional, is to understand what drives each prospect. When you know what they want and what they are willing to do to get it, you can leverage that knowledge. It’s a matter of connecting the dots between satisfying their motivation with the value of your product or service.
Motivation is the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. The motivator is the reason(s) one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. In the context of the sales cycle, how do you position your product or service so that the prospect is motivated to take action?
Here are five steps to understand what motivates your prospect, and in turn, to close the deal.
Step 1: Ask
One of the keys to a successful sales career is the ability to create a shared understanding with your customer. This understanding is dependent on your ability to ask pertinent and relevant questions. What questions you ask and how you ask them will determine the level of rapport you develop with the buyer. Be strategic in your questioning. Lead the conversation to uncover conditions and reveal consequences the prospect may not have considered. This creates opportunities to steer them back around to your solution. Remember, selling isn't telling. If you’re doing all the talking, most likely you’re not gaining a deep understanding of the prospective buyer.
Step 2: Listen
Asking good questions isn't enough. Effective communication is based on the ability to listen and understand what the buyer is telling you. The ability to hear is a physical attribute. Either you hear what is being said or you don't. Listening is a skill that must be developed and honed. It requires that you actively focus, eliminate personal bias, and truly understand the message being delivered by the other person.
Step 3: Confirm
One way to ensure there is shared understanding is to confirm what you have heard. If needed, ask the buyer to clarify specific points. By reiterating the salient points back to them, you are acknowledging that you’ve received their message correctly. Confirming your understanding forces you to be a better listener, and makes the speaker feel heard and validated.
Step 4: Connect
After confirming what they’ve said, formulate a connection to what the prospect is motivated to get or achieve. In the ValueSelling Framework®, we label this motivation as "personal value." Personal value is defined as the impact on the individual as a result of resolving their business issue. The more deliberate you are in connecting your product or service to the goals and desires of your prospect, the greater sales success you will achieve.
Step 5: Create a Plan
After the questions are asked, understood, confirmed, and your products and services are connected to the personal motivation of each decision maker in the sales process, create a plan with your prospect to make it happen. The plan, in this case, isn't merely a plan to purchase. It’s a plan that helps your prospect realize that they can get what they desire by doing business with you.
Effective selling is effective communicating. While persuasion is a part of communication, your understanding of the personal motivations of each unique buyer, coupled with your ability to connect your solution to that motivation, is crucial to winning the business. So stay focused on the personal value and you will ultimately guide your prospect, resulting in sustaining their engagement, advancing the sale and closing the deal.
Sell with Value!