I went to an important meeting today. It went on for over an hour and I really connected with the people in the meeting. I was excited, they were excited and when I left it I had that jittery enthusiastic feeling you get when you really feel that you’re moving towards a goal, or closer to getting something you want.
However, today I was not selling; they were. I was talking to them about investing in their services to help move my business forward. They really seemed to understand what I wanted to achieve and I felt good about the things they suggested. But as is usually the case when something involves an investment of money, I called a person who I rely on for sound financial advice to discuss the investment with them. And do you know what happened? I allowed myself to be talked out of it. I forgot that the person I called was filtering through their own values, and that what I was suggesting, given what I know their values are, seemed ludicrous. Preposterous. Out of the question. So just as a magical holiday becomes a distant memory, as the day went on I continued to rationalise in my head why my financial mentor was correct, and investing with this company would be a bad decision.
So this evening as I lay on the bed, breastfeeding my baby, I got thinking: how many potential clients have I lost in the past due to exactly the same scenario occurring? I used to finish a meeting with a potential new customer and call my husband up joyfully to exclaim “They love it! They’re enrolling with me!”, only for the person to call me in a couple of days and say that they had changed their mind. It was too expensive/too much time/too much something. Usually these potential clients had to go home and discuss it with their spouse, who is also co-incidentially, the holder of the purse strings. Thinking back, the only people who enrolled with me on the spot, were the ones where either both decision makers were present in the meeting, or the meeting was with the person who controlled the family finances.
Qualification is key in any and every sales presentation. Don’t waste your time and energy on your finest sales presentation, unless you are sure that the person you are presenting to is the person who can actually go ahead and sign the paperwork. Proper qualification is the difference between being a sales person and a sales champion. Spend more time on qualification that you do on anything else. It doesn’t matter how good your presentation is. If you’re not presenting to the ultimate decision maker, you may be unlikely to make the sale.
More later on how to qualify effectively and thoroughly, as well as those all important questions you need to ask, to gain the information you need.