Most Sellers are Oblivious To The Prospect Experience
GUEST AUTHOR BILL CASKEY!
You can’t listen to a business podcast today and not hear the topic customer experience. It’s even got it’s own acronym - CX.
This is all well and good for client success people and organizations hoping to maximize profit and retain clients.
But what about the sales professional? I think a better - and more modern way-to look at the customer experience is the experience they have as a prospect. Not to be outdone by the acronym crowd, I call this PX: The prospect experience.
The sales process today has landmines all over it. It’s one reason closing percentages hover around 15% - and selling cycles continue to stretch longer.
And the reason that ‘better closing skills’ fail to move the needle.
From the time a potential client first engages with a seller — to the time that the deal is closed — there are more opportunities for failure than success.
In my work over the last 25 years with sales teams — creating a curriculum that helps them close business — I’ve accumulated what I call The PX Elements - 12 necessary components that will give your prospect an awesome experience as you lead them through the sales process.
Rate yourself (or your company), to see if you’re checking the right boxes.
The PX Elements
You bring an unbiased view to understanding their issues. Why? Because you want to be believable - and if you’re too biased, they’ll chalk you up as yet another amateur trying to ‘get a deal.’ Trust comes as a result of no expectations.
You make it emotionally safe for them to tell you their issues without resistance. You want them to open up and tell you honestly what their issues are. If the atmosphere is unsafe, you’ll get lied to.
You are easy to find and do business with. Nothing more here. Everybody thinks they are but most or not.
You are clear about your sales process and share it with them. I like the idea of having a graphic that lays out your starting point, what you go through with them, and where they end up (with a glorious solution :)
Your sales process IS about helping them identify the problem/vision they have. Most aren’t crafted that way. The best sales process brings value whether the customer buys from you or not. Does yours?
You remain detached to the outcome throughout the process. Required if you are to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done throughout. You cannot be attached to the sale. It’s a recipe for trust erosion.
You are able to succinctly share the value that you bring through legit stories of how others have benefitted from your solutions. If your value is the least bit confusing, you must work diligently on crafting your message through stories and case studies so that they understand exactly how you are a ‘no-brainer’ for them.
You consistently connect their problems with your solution **without neediness**. Sales people generally are terrible at this. There is so much focus on the close that they forget the connection. In this case, the "connection" is the point where you connect their problems that they've told you they had with how your solution will alleviate them.
You are OK with OR without the sale. It goes back to being unbiased and being detached. But it's so important that I put it in here twice :-)
You challenge them when they aren’t thinking correctly about your solution - (in a nice way). Sometimes you have to be 'nicely blunt.’ If they’re thinking about the solution in the wrong way or their problems in an unresourceful way, you must enlighten them. The best way to do this is to be direct.
You share content that helps them whether they use you or not. What is your content strategy so they know you’re a leader in this industry - and not just a ‘vendor’?
You share what will happen NEXT if they engage you. This is a big miss by most sales teams. We spend so much time in the sales process that we need to communicate the delivery process that happens once the engagement is signed off on. You must have a clear picture you can share with them of what happens when they become a client.
There you have it. How did you rate yourself? If you're a VP Sales, make this a topic of one of your next sales meetings. I submit that your closing percentage will rocket upward if you're doing these 12 things correctly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bill Caskey is a sales coach and trainer, and hosts The Advanced Selling Podcast and The Bill Caskey Podcast. www.billcaskey.com He works with business-to-business sales organizations, with high upside potential, bringing modern skills to navigate the complex sale. He can be reached at email@example.com or on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/billcaskey/. You can download his complimentary guide, “5 Reasons You Don’t Have Enough Clients” at www.5reasonsclients.com