Written by Jayne Sallerson, Sherpa COO
Do you remember The Breakfast Club? There was the jock, the tough guy, the nerd, the popular girl and the outcast, spending a Saturday in detention together. It occurred to me while watching a rerun of The Breakfast Club. Each of the characters had underlying stories, histories, fears and dreams under their façades. As time goes on, we learn so much more about them and what makes them tick. They ask questions about each other and share stories. They cry together. Guess what? Our prospects all have identities, stories, fears and dreams and it is our job to uncover them in order to get past the “I’m not ready” objection.
As someone who has been in the industry for almost 20 years managing sales for both small and large organizations, I was always looking for that “secret sauce” to improve sales conversions. Throughout the years, I created new sales trainings, implemented existing trainings, and hired sales consultants. While motivating, they tended to be minimally impactful in the long term. I couldn’t understand why we were consistently battling the “I’m not ready” prospect.
You see, there is a problem in our industry. The predominant sales training all comes from a foundation of transactional based selling. We may believe we are teaching relationship based selling, but most of these trainings all have one common theme: Ask questions about our prospects’ needs, and you’ll match the applicable features and benefits. While this works for the most urgent, high-acuity prospects, it doesn’t work with 90% of the other leads in our databases.
Just like the characters in The Breakfast Club, we need to learn our prospects’ life stories. We need to take the time to understand what’s behind the resistance they outwardly show. Why are they so resistant? What are they scared of? These types of conversations typically will not occur when you simply try to “get a tour” or “get a deposit.” By solely focusing on these outcomes, you may be actually pushing your prospect further away. You need to “open up” your prospect before you can “close” them.