“I ain’t afraid of no ghosts” – Ray Parker Jr.
A few weeks ago, in the middle of a training session with a group of salespeople and recruiters, someone clicked the "raise your hand" button on Zoom as we discussed the decision process that clients and talent go through to determine their direction. I called on them to share their question with the team.
“What is the reason, after I've had several discussions with a prospect and have shared a proposal with them, they stop answering my outreaches? I'm so tired of being 'ghosted.'" I immediately thought, “that’s a blog”! So here we go!
I’ll start with the premise on which I hope we can all agree –
“If we solve our customers’ problems, we will solve our own.”®
Too often, we begin the prospecting process focused on what we need rather than how we will help our prospects create better outcomes for their company. When we are prospecting and meeting with clients or candidates, if you don’t create a driving force for change, you can expect to be ghosted.
Below are 3 key areas to help improve your unique value and avoid the dreaded ghosting.
1. Always be in your customer’s operating reality
This means seeing problems and opportunities as they appear through THEIR eyes. It requires the ability to shift from your perspective to the client's perspective so that you can better understand and explain how you provide real value in helping them achieve their business objectives and bottom-line results. In fact, a Chally HR survey showed that executives find that only 1 in 10 salespeople focuses on delivering solutions that specifically and uniquely deliver value. Imagine the frustration they must feel.
The other component of this is the skill of being an active listener. When you are actively listening, you are NOT listening to respond or listening to win but listening to understand. This key strategy will put you in the client's operating reality. When it comes to selling, nobody wants to hear you tell them what they need--until you have first listened to them. No one wants to be sold, but everyone wants to buy if the conditions are right for THEM.
2. Understand where they are in the decision process
This is the buying process for any customer in any buying decision. Instead of focusing on closing the deal, our responsibility is to get into our client's Operating Reality. So, what stage of the Buying/Decision process is the most important? Believe it or not, it is Identification of Need. Unless we have specifically had confirmation FROM the prospect that they WILL make a change if the conditions are right, they haven’t been convinced that there is enough value to do something different than what they are doing today. In fact, Butler Street has amassed empirical data in validating that if you get in at the need recognition stage of the buying process vs. the investigate options stage, you have a 10X greater chance of influencing the win.
3. The quality of your questions WILL define you.
Many times, as we go through the decision process, we move faster through this process than the prospect, and we haven't actually gotten feedback that they are ready to do something different. A few of the factors that determine if we are moving at the same speed as our customer include:
a. Have they communicated a driving force for change? – why do they HAVE to do something different? This goes to the heart of the Value = Benefits – Cost equation. It MUST work in the prospect's favor, and they must believe from their operating reality that making a change WILL either improve their outcomes or eliminate a negative consequence.
b. Do we know all of the Key Decision Makers/Key Decision Influencers and what criteria they use to make the decision? Also, WHO will be part of the decision process? This needs to be clearly defined and documented so you can tailor your proposal to specifically address the various KDM/KDI decision factors.
c. Do you have a champion in the executive suite that wants you to win? Obviously, the higher up in the organization you are and have support for your solution, the more influence you can create throughout the entire organization.
If you don’t have deep answers to these critical “winning” questions, there is a strong possibility that ghosting could still occur even if the opportunity "feels" good.
If you want to be a “ghostbuster” and invest your time and effort where you will personally get the most return, Butler Street can help. Our Sales Effectiveness and Recruiting Effectiveness Programs provide a proven, repeatable process that improves your ability to get meetings, build trust, and advance relationships. Contact us to get started.