Salespeople often run into problems during the sales conversation. When these problems recur over time, it can cause a salesperson to fail to win deals that they might have won. Many of these obstacles happen in the B2B sales process. When this is true, it is especially important to address them early and proactively.
The Problem of Higher Price
You have a higher price than your competitors, but your team does outstanding work. Your contact calls you to deliver the bad news that wanted to buy from you, but you were 8 percent higher than the competitor they decided to go with instead. You argue with your contact that you and your solution and company are a better choice.
When this happens regularly, the right thing to do is to proactively deal with this problem early in the sales conversation. To do this, you inform your contacts that you are going to have a higher price because that is how you ensure your clients achieve their strategic outcomes. Instead of surprising your contacts with your price later in the conversation, you use the entire sales process to justify the delta between you and your competitors.
The Problem of Leading the Client
You have an easy time getting a first meeting because you know how to trade value for your contact’s time. Sometimes, you secure a second meeting, but oftentimes you get ghosted. Your contacts seem to be in control of the sales conversation, causing you to follow their lead. Your B2B sales pipeline is a mess of deals that haven’t moved for weeks or months.
Early in your first meeting, you explain to your contact that they are going to need four meetings in total. You explain what you will help them accomplish during each of those meetings and how each one will benefit them, no matter who they buy from in the future. This approach needs good and effective language and must offer good value to trade for the contact’s time.
Addressing both of these problems is easier if you are One-Up, an approach you can find in Elite Sales Strategies: A Guide to Being One-Up, Creating Value, and Becoming Truly Consultative. This book will help you get on your front foot and lead your client, facilitating their buyer’s journey.
The Problem of Relevance and Authority
During onboarding, you were taught and trained to lean on your company’s success, their big name clients, and their products and services. When you use this approach, your contacts disengage because the sales experience isn’t what they needed. You recognize that you don’t get a lot of second meetings, and it’s harming your results.
When this is true, you should prove to your contacts that you are an expert and an authority immediately. Open the call by providing your contact with an executive briefing about the trends in their industry. This single change to your sales process will best position you to gain a second meeting by differentiating you from your competition.
You can find help with this idea in Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition. This book has a methodology for building and delivering a briefing. If you want more information about this approach, go here for help.
The Problem of Access to Stakeholders
You have found your sales champion. You are making progress, but you know that this deal is going to need the support of other people on the client’s teams. When you ask about who needs to be included in the sales conversation, your contact says they will make the decision. Then, they never introduce you to anyone else.
In the future, you can address this early in the sales conversation by explaining that no company ever buys what you sell without consensus. Explain that in the few instances that a contact has tried to go without consensus-building conversations, they fail to make a purchase, or the company they bought from fails them.
One of the reasons these contacts don’t want to bring other people into the process is that they fear they will lose control of the decision. You can assuage your contact by telling them that you will make sure they keep control of the process, even as you address the questions and needs of other stakeholders.
Dealing Proactively with Your Sales Problems
When you encounter the same problem repeatedly, you have evidence that you should introduce the related part of the conversation as early as possible. The idea that you need to build the value of your solution before disclosing your price isn’t going to do anything about the fact that your contact has lower-priced proposals from your competitors. You can better position your solution by spending more time making your case.
You can also make it easier to lead your client by introducing the meetings your client will need to make the best decision for their company. Once you have been ghosted, all the emails and voicemails in the world aren’t going to get you a call back.
The best way to be relevant to your clients is by developing your business acumen and your insights so you can help your client learn what they need to know to improve their results. By starting your conversation with market insights, you prove you have experience and authority in your industry.
The messy, political process of building consensus will be a problem going forward. Uncertainty and instability in every corner of our world will require salespeople to proactively encourage the contact to bring stakeholders into the conversation. When introducing this approach early, let the client know that the only way they will effectively make change will be by including others. This is better than the client making a decision without their consensus and failing because they have no support from their teams.
Deal with Recurring Sales Problems Proactively
Leaving this post, you should make a list of the problems you experience regularly. Once you have a list, start working on building the talk tracks that will allow you to introduce the conversation as early as possible, giving yourself the time to deal with the obstacles and challenges that prevent you from progressing or winning deals. In all things, you are better off being proactive. Seeming small issues can cause big problems later in the sales process.