3 ways to win over a sales prospect

Picture this: A sales manager is meeting with a salesperson to discuss why his once-full sales pipeline is now empty. The salesperson has an explanation. “Everyone is happy with their existing vendor,” he says.

News alert! Of course your prospects are happy with their existing suppliers. They’re human beings, and human beings avoid change — even if that means putting up with mediocrity from vendors. But the other reason why your prospects are happy is because you didn’t give them a compelling reason to make a change.

Don’t let this scenario stop you from winning new business. Here are three things every salesperson can do to convert more prospects into clients — even those that are satisfied with their existing partners.

1. Plan before you call.

Put in the work to earn the reward of a new client. Research and practice as part of your pre-call planning. That includes knowing the incumbents and what they offer so you can ask appropriate questions and offer value propositions that point out gaps in your competitors’ offerings.

2. Increase your emotional intelligence.

There is direct correlation between the rigor of pre-call planning and the emotional intelligence skill of delayed gratification, which is the ability to put in the work to earn the reward. It’s important for salespeople to develop and improve this EI skill, so they think like the customer and invest the time and effort that yields a well-run sales meeting. The instant-gratification salesperson defaults to “wing it” in meetings, which leads to sporadic sales results.

3. Customize your value proposition.

A well-designed value proposition points out gaps in a competitor’s offering without even mentioning the competition. This requires conducting research about your competitors and tailoring your value proposition to the prospect.

We used this approach when working with a client to unseat a well-liked, local firm. Because of their research, my client knew the incumbent wasn’t offering service or support beyond their state. We designed a value proposition to point out this gap without mentioning the competition. We told the prospect, “A lot of our clients come to us because they are really satisfied with their existing partner, but they’re concerned that they’re losing business because they can’t support national or international clients.”

The existing-vendor excuse is no longer a valid one. With preparation, this kind of sales challenge can be transformed into a business opportunity.

Category : Sales

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About the Author: Colleen Stanley

Colleen Stanley is President of SalesLeadership, a sales training and consulting firm. She is author of Growing Great Sales Teams, and writes a bi-monthly column for business journals across the country. For more information, co

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