Assuming the product or service you sell is a relatively high-priced item or takes a well thought-out decision by your prospect (and possibly others such as a committee) before buying, it’s seldom that you’ll make the sale on your first appointment. Sure, there are exceptions, but this is the general rule.
As such, you may want to take the advice of Neil Rackham, author of the bestseller, SPIN Selling (SPIN stands for “Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff”). He suggests that, instead of judging the success of your presentation by whether you make the sale or impress your prospect, that you judge its success by whether you cause an “advance.”
According to the author, “An advance is where an event takes place, either in the call or after it, that moves the sale forward toward a decision.” He cites typical advances as:
* A prospect’s agreement to attend an off-site demonstration
* A clearance that will get you in front of a higher level of decision-maker
* An agreement to run a trial or test of your product
* Access to parts of the account that were previously inaccessible to you
Again, depending upon your product or service, many more examples could be added to Mr. Rackham’s excellent list. One in particular would include simply setting up a return visit to your prospect’s office, for which you have a set date and time. That way you can bring back your updated or final ideas, learn of and answer any final questions and, either complete the sale or advance it even more toward a final conclusion.
Mr. Rackham adds that one characteristic of a successful advance is that the commitments proposed is the highest “realistic” commitment the prospect is able to give.
In other words, Successful salespeople never try and move the prospective customer beyond achievable limits.
How do you see Mr. Rackham’s advice working in your business?