How to reach a sales commitment in 15 minutes
When we tell someone what we do (we normally sound just like our competitors) or what our product does, we must hope the suspect cares enough to listen. Since we use words that have many interpretations and are the same words used by our competitors, we must hope the suspect understood what we meant. Then based on if they listened and if they understood, we will get to hear if they care about what we wanted to tell them.
At this point if they didn’t listen, couldn’t understand and/or don’t care, we are prepared to go into additional detail, references, examples, supporting research, demos, and the details of our manufacturing schedule – often over lunch with a couple of drinks.
The alternative is a new concept to arrive at a commitment in 15 minutes. The “new concept “is replace the product pitch” with a “concept conversation,” and the commitment is really 2 commitments. One of the commitments is from the suspect to us, and the other is from us to the suspect.
Not only will we have joint commitments with next steps, but we will have clear agreement about where we want to go and the next steps to get there.
Most of the time we do our product pitch to try to find that rare person who either cares or who doesn’t care but won’t admit it, so they let you keep talking and will even encourage providing them with a proposal (at which time their phone number changes, they move jobs or are way too busy to call back).
A truth to remember is “if people don’t like your concept, they will never care about the detail.” When salespeople lead with “detail” (product pitch), the only good suspect is one who knows much more than the salesperson. This suspect understands the product pitch completely and already has a plan to deploy the exact product the salesperson pitches and just needs a low price.
The way to have commitments in 15 minutes is to start at the concept. If they don’t like the concept, you save all the time of doing the product pitch (since you won’t sell anything anyway). If they do like the concept, they must commit to the same concept you are committed to in order to get more detail to determine if and how to work together.
So if you can describe the customer’s problem you solve for the customer at the concept (like: consistently growing profitable revenue regardless what is going on around you) level and that concept is compelling to the suspect to the point where they will commit resources (their time, time of their team members, presenting current state, etc.) for you to learn more, then you have a qualified lead and are now proceeding to a Joint Statement of Work (SOW) – all in 15 minutes.
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