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Qualifying Your Ideal Sale

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This is the full funnel freedom podcast, supporting sales leaders, and managers to improve their sales funnels from people to prospects. I'm Hamish Knox. In this show, you'll learn how you can improve your results. Lead a great team and hit more targets with full funnel freedom. Welcome to episode four of the full funnel freedom podcast.Hamish Knox. In this episode, I'll be sharing ideas and insights on qualifying your ideal sales. So we've done the hard work we've got an opportunity, or at least someone has come to us and said, I'd like to explore this product or service with one of our salespeople. One of the core mindsets that. We coach our clients on, which was, uh, one of David Sandler's rules is sales professionals get paid on the information that they gather, not the information that they give and, you know, some people figure that out on their own.

And in fact, we've had plenty of clients who we've worked with, who have said to us, you know, I do all of this stuff naturally. And my response is, Hey, you know what? That's really awesome. I'd like it, if you did it intentionally, because if we're doing something naturally, what it really means is we're flying off the seat of our pants.

We're doing it when we're comfortable and we're not actually sticking to a process or following. So our qualifying of our ideal sales starts with our sales process. Our sales team knows what information they need to gather because we've documented it in the sales process. And today what we'll talk about is more, so the first couple of steps of your sales process, when I.

Share this idea with groups, I'll start off with the first stage of a sales process being called first contact, which is the first time that one of our salespeople interacts with a prospect, whether it's phone call, networking event, trade show, social selling, what have you. And then the next stage is the discovery stage.

And that's where we really do that deep dive into. In first contact. What I coach my clients to coach their salespeople to gather is information around five really key boxes. First is why, why is our prospect looking for this product or service at this time? Which leads into the why now? Why are they looking for it?

Now, third question that we want to understand is why us? Why are they reaching out to us specific? Some of our clients here, the well you're on our approved vendor list, which is the equivalent of well, so you exist. But what we're really wanting to get our salespeople to understand is that they are in the information gathering business and that surface level information that our prospects are likely to say to annual.

Is not the real reasons why they're going to end up working with us. So first three boxes again. Why, why are you looking for this? Why now? Why are you looking for it now? Why us? Why did you reach out to us specifically? Is it just because we exist and who knows? Maybe we're the straw dog or the third quote in this conversation.

Last two boxes. Number one, do you have any money set aside? No. Or, yes. At this point, that's all I want my salesperson to find out. Is, is there any sort of a budget set aside now I'll talk about in later episodes words that our salespeople can use that actually create mental friction. With our prospects that reduce their abilities to close a sale.

One of those is the word budget. I'd strongly encourage you to have your salespeople drop the word budget out of their vocabulary, because it does create a lot of mental and emotional friction with their prospects. And the last box is when are you hoping to have something implemented? Know when I sold software as a service.

And that was a really key question because when they wanted something in pigmented, which was probably yesterday was different than when they were going to make a decision, which was probably three months from now. The question around, when are you going to make a decision? Is one of the single dumbest questions that a salesperson can ask any prospect, because as my software service example just illustrated when they're going to make a decision and when they need the implemented are probably very, very different and actually may not work with our successful client onboarding and implementation process, which we're going to talk about in a future.

Once our sales person has got those five boxes checked. The prospect qualifies to move down to the next stage in our process, which from a generic level I refer to as the discovery stage, because discovery could take 2, 3, 5, 7, 24 meetings, depending on what kind of a product you're selling, what your sales cycle looks like.

One of my clients, their sales cycle was identified as 36 minutes because they were largely inbound leads. Selling print advertising. Another one of my clients, their self-identified sales cycle was 36 months because they were working with pipeline companies who typically had a longer sales cycle. And it may not be that our salesperson can actually get all five of those boxes checked in one conference.

We want to make sure that we are not coming across as pushy, slimy salespeople who are just bashing some new sales tactic. They learned into everybody that they talk to and hoping that they finally find a nail. We want our salespeople to be very much conversational with our prospects and clients, because when we're conversational, we lower a lot of that mental and emotional friction that all of us have when we're talking to sales.

I have two daughters. They're nine and six. I've never said to either of them. I hope you want to be a salesperson when you grow up. I have said entrepreneur, which is code for salesperson. Don't figure that one out later. So if one of our salespeople are in a. Venue like a trade show or a networking event where it doesn't necessarily fit the check, all those five boxes at once.

They can certainly check a couple of the high level ones, right? The why, the why now, and then say something to the person they're talking to. Like, you know what, we're at a networking event where to trade show. This is not the right place for us to have a really deep conversation to figure out whether or not we want to work to.

How about we set up a time where we can have a 15 minute phone call. I've got a few more questions for you, and then we can figure out whether or not we want to keep talking now that we get down to the discovery phase. So we've checked the five boxes under first contact. And in your world, maybe you have four, maybe you have sex, but it's not going to be very much.

Because we don't necessarily want to introduce a lot of friction up front. We do want to be very specific and qualifying. And in fact, a lot of our clients have set up their CRMs in a way where they have their non-negotiable sales process, checkboxes open at every single stage. In their CRM. So that the only way for one of their salespeople to advance an opportunity to the next stage is to check all those boxes.

Now you might be thinking, could the salesperson lie? Of course they can. I've been in sales since I was 19. I've absolutely lied to my sales manager on occasion. But if we are following. And accountability structure, which I'll talk about in the later episode, eventually the numbers are going to bear out.

And if one of our salespeople has all these opportunities midway down the funnel and they're checking all these boxes, eventually all those deals have to come through the funnel or they're just going to sit and bloat. And then we might have an idea that maybe they're not being as diligent as they could.

So now that we're in discovery, there's really three main buckets of information that I am seeking to uncover from my prospect. So bucket one is. What are the reasons why my prospect is going to want to take action. Sales requires action. Now, for some of you you're thinking, well, I don't get a credit card.

The first time I talked to a prospect, it doesn't mean that what it means is that our prospect is willing to take a next step and commit to a next step with us. And for a lot of you, especially those in. Type sales environment. That probably means they're setting up another conversation with one of your salespeople, possibly with some more people from their side or some more people from your salesperson.

I also want to understand what is the payoff to the business and that the person I'm talking to for resolving the challenges or realizing the opportunities that prompted that prospect to talk to one of our salespeople, because if we can identify a personal payoff that is really compelling. Our prospect is likely to do business with our salesperson.

If we can't. And we stay at that very surface level, trying to solve the problems that our prospect is sharing with our salesperson, our salesperson is doing nothing more than commoditizing them. Speaking of commoditizing. One of the things that I learned very early on in my sales career is that we had to figure out how to balance the equation of what I was asking my prospect for, from a investment terms versus what they were either losing, because the problem was carrying on or what they were missing out on, because they weren't realizing.

That way we can actually balance out ROI. If we can't figure that out or our sales person can't figure that out, our stuff could be a dollar or a million dollars, and it's still too much in the minds of our prospect. But once they discover that we're asking for say $10,000 to resolve a hundred thousand dollar issue, oftentimes that will fit with any sort of IRR internal rate of return or.

ROI calculation that they need to do internally to approve working with. The next big bucket I want to uncover is my prospects, willingness and ability to invest what we need to get for our products and services. And that could be in the areas of an investing the time to properly implement our product or service.

It could be in being able to pull in the right resources, including people to. Make our product or service fit in their world. You know, when I was selling software, I never lost a deal because of price. Now I was told upfront that it was because of price later on, I learned it was a bunch of different things.

One of them was my prospect was either unwilling or unable to pull the people who needed to be trained on my SAS platform. Out of the field so that they could get training. Now, of course, my fault. I should've uncovered that and set up a way that we could get training in groups, which we had done for other organizations, but it had never come up with our prospect.

And I just didn't think to make it a question, which is on me, not on my prospect. And of course we have to, we have to talk about money. You know, I. New a consultant early in my sales career who was working with a, a government department and they told us how they were going into the second year of their work with this government department.

So this government department is already a client. Keep that in mind. And this consultant said to. There contact. Well, you know, what's the budget set aside for our project for the second year and they got back, oh, well, you know, we can't tell you that because we're in government and that's a violation, et cetera, et cetera.

The consultant says, Hey, fair enough. How much money do you have set aside for this project? 150,000. Which, well, I got the information that I needed to gather. So that word, budget to illustrate again, can be a very scary, emotional word for our prospects. Last thing I want to cover is who are all the people who are going to be involved in selecting.

A vendor, whether it's us or somebody else. And that's another word that I would encourage your you to coach your salespeople on removing from the vocabulary, which is the word decision decision is a very big, scary, emotional word, but the word selection much less. I select things all the time. Hey Mitch, how are you going to go about selecting a vendor for your it services?

Oh, well, I'm going to do this and this and this and this and this as opposed to, Hey Hamish, how are you going to decide on a vendor for your it services? Oh, back off sales guy. I'm not going to tell you all about that. And circling back to something we talked about or. The key question is when do you need a solution implemented?

Whether you pick us, you pick somebody else. It doesn't matter. When are you going to need something implemented? Now the key question after that is why do you need it by then? And then let's say that you don't get it in by then. What happens to you? Because if there's no consequence, To the date that our prospect gives us for when they need something implemented by they're going to keep pushing our sales person out and pushing them out and pushing them out and possibly ghosting them because there's no real compelling reason for them to actually do anything.

So coach your salespeople to get a real date for when something needs to be employing. Uh, reason why and a consequence for what happens if their prospect doesn't, because that is going to increase velocity into their funnel and make your funnel fuller on a consistent regular basis. This has been episode four of the full funnel freedom podcast, qualifying your ideal sales I'm Hamish knocks until we connect with you on the next episode, go create full funnel freedom.

Thank you for listening to full funnel freedom with Amish knocks. If you want to increase your sales with ease, go to full funnel,