How many times have you left a sales appointment… walked to your car in the parking lot… and thought to yourself, “What the hell just happened in there?”
What are the chances that your prospect is also thinking, “What just happened – and what do we do know?”
Chances are pretty good that if you’re confused, your prospect is confused, too. When this happens the chances of you making a sale (especially if the confusion continues) is pretty slim.
So what’s a salesperson to do? Set expectations; that’s what you do. We’ll call them Ground Rules. Set crystal clear Ground Rules of what will happen – every step of the way throughout the selling process. Ground Rules start at the beginning of a selling opportunity. Say this, “Mrs. Prospect what would you like to accomplish today in this meeting?” And let her talk. Most prospects will let you know how to close them if you’ll just let them.
At this point, she will tell you all the things you already know about what she wants to accomplish in a first meeting (just like every other first meeting you’ve been to). She’ll want to know what you do, how you do it, when she can get it, how much it will cost, who else is using it, blah, blah, blah. The point is there is nothing new that you hear when you ask someone what they want to accomplish – the same four or five things come out every time. But don’t let that keep you from asking. The beautiful thing is if there is something new that you have never heard before you will uncover it early – and not be confused about it later.
When you come to the end of your meeting, you need to set more Ground Rules. It’s necessary to sum up what just happened and set new Ground Rules for what happens next. If a second (or third) meeting is necessary, you should know exactly what’s expected in that meeting, who needs to be there, what you’re doing in the meantime, and what they’re doing in the meantime. Do what you say you’ll do and hold them to doing what they said they’d do. In the next meeting what do you do? You confirm the Ground Rules that were set. No shortcuts!
Sales is nothing more than setting expectations every step of the way throughout the selling process…