3 steps to prove the prospect has a problem

We’ve always been taught that selling starts with asking the prospect about their problems and what they would change if they could. But what if certain decision makers need to be convinced that they even have a problem?

Bill Gates said “I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.”

Here are three ways your sales presentation can show the prospect that they have a problem that you can fix.

Prove that the prospect has a problem

“If you show people the problem and the solution then they will act”

Show and tell. I met with a prospect a few years ago and asked him a series of questions about his existing process for managing the products my company provides. He explained what I considered to be an inefficient manual process. My last question to him was “what would you change about your current process if you could?” His answer took me by surprise, he said “nothing, it works fine.”

I froze for a moment. This is not how it’s supposed to work. The prospect is supposed to tell me about all the issues I know he’s struggling with and then I provide the solutions. So I said “well, how about you have a look at our technology and let’s see what you think.” Once the prospect actually saw the features and functionality of our on line system he realized how inefficient his existing process was. Seeing is believing so whenever possible actually show the benefits of your product or service during your presentation.

Examples. A colleague was in the early stages of the sales cycle and asked if the prospect wouldn’t mind bringing him to the storeroom so he could see how product was stored and managed. Once in the storeroom, as they were talking, someone from administration walked in, grabbed a handful of product and left. The sales person turned to the prospect and asked “does that happen often – people taking their own product with no chance for you track usage and inventory and no opportuntity for a charge back to the department?” The prospect replied “yes, actually it does.”  Later in the sales cycle when delivering his presentation to the decision makers, some of whom doubted that they actually needed his service, the sales person was able to use the example he observed in the storeroom to prove the need for the inventory tracking system he provided. He got the sale because he had observed the prospect’s process and was able to leverage an issue that had been under the radar screen

Questions. After proving to the prospect that they 1) have an issue and that 2) you can solve that issue ask the prospect to confirm what you have asserted. “Do you see how this system would improve your process?”  If they say “yes” you’re in good shape if they say “no” you have an opportunity to explore and overcome the objection and continue the sales process (for more on presentation questions click here).

Sometimes it’s not enough to show the prospect the solutions. Sometimes they need to be convinced that they even have a problem. But if in your presentation you show them the problem and the solution they will act.

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