Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Customer's Process Rules: A Sales Rep Pop Quiz

Whatever you're doing right now, stop.

Put down the phone, quit fiddling with your iPad, and shut down your Tweetdeck while you're at it.

It's time for a Sales Pop Quiz, hotshot.

Here's the rules: Without looking at your CRM system, think of your highest-probability deal in the pipeline right now, and answer these questions.

1. Name the specific title of the last person at the account you spoke with on the phone, and the department they work for.

2. Give the name and title of the person that the Person in Question #1 directly reports to.

3. Give the name and title of one of the people that reports to Person #1.

4. Give the name and title of the person that's going to write the check/drop the corporate credit card/put the final signature on the PO when your prospective sale closes (if you're lucky, the answer will be the same as Question #1).

5. When was the last time the Persons in Questions #1, 2, and 4 met together to discuss the problem your product/service is going to solve?

6. What paperwork/research/data did they have in front of them when they did?

7. Who else was in the room?

8. How long is it going to be before they meet again?

9. How many other vendors are they considering?

10. Who are they?

11. What features/benefits/advantages of competing vendors are most appealing to them?

12. What's their "drop dead," point-of-no-return deadline for implementing any purchased products or services?

13. Which of the Persons in Questions #1, 2, or 4 is setting the budget? Or is it someone else entirely?

14. If it's someone else entirely, do they even know your company is in the running for a major purchase?

15. What is the budget they've set?

16. How is your product service emotionally making life better for the Persons in Questions #1-4? This isn't about features and benefits, it's about the direct connection to how you're going to emotionally change their lives, their jobs, their daily tasks. From Day 1, how is what you're about to sell to them going to make them enjoy their job more/hate their job less?

17. How is your sales data, case studies, testimonials, research, and best practices justifying the emotional reactions of the Persons in Questions #1-4?

18. Based on Questions 9-17, are you even in the running for this sale, or are you clinging to false hope?

19. Are you tracking the progress of the deal based on your internal sales process,, or on how the prospect is actually approaching the purchase?

20. Based on Questions #5-19, how accurate is your current closing forecast?

21. If your sales manager knew the true answer to Question #20, how would that change what you do for the next 14, 30, 90 days?

It may seem a bit didactic, but the point is if you didn't have answers to more than four or five of these questions, it's indicative of a mindset.

Are you really focusing on the prospect's needs? Are you approaching the process of the sale from their viewpoint, their decisions, their company hierarchy and culture? Based on your action items, are you making the decision to purchase your solution harder, or easier?

It's these every day questions that ultimately lead to a customer-centered, rather than a seller-centered buying cycle, that will lead to more success.

By : Steven_Watts

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