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How Do You Know If Your Prospect Is Ready To Purchase?

Mar 16, 2008
So, you believe your prospect has a problem you can help him/her solve with your product or service. It appears the prospect has the desire to solve the problem, and the finances to afford the solution. If you have completed all the steps in the sales process up to this point, your prospect should be on the edge of their seat, waiting to hear your solution.

They should be so excited at this point; they're almost begging you to tell them how you're going to help them. You're ready to give them your solution. You're ready for the band to play and the curtain to open, and you step up on stage to come to their rescue with your product or service.

Stop and ask yourself if you've asked the right questions that get at these four issues:

1. Is there a real problem begging for a solution? Is something missing, and are they unable to find a solution by themselves?

2. Is there a commitment to change things and move forward? Are they in a place where they are finally ready to take action?

3. Are they willing to invest in a solution? Can they put in the time, energy, and money to do what it takes to make the change?

4. Can they envision the future? Can they imagine more positive outcomes than they are experiencing now?

You need to have a firm resounding YES to each of these four issues. If you don't, before going in to your presentation I would suggest you stop and go back. Do you need to ask more questions to make sure you have uncovered their problem? Is the problem you uncovered urgent enough for the prospect to want to change?

If you go on with your presentation without having a real commitment, you may be wasting your time. This is where many salespeople make a huge mistake. They don't have a prospect that is ready, willing, and able to purchase, yet they feel they can close them. So they continue with the presentation, only to be put off with some lame excuse such as "I need to think about it".

This point in your qualifying will separate the men from the boys(sorry ladies). If the prospect is not absolutely 100% ready to make this change, you need to walk away.

I know what you're thinking, "WALK AWAY? I just spent all this time building rapport, creating interest and then asking all those probing questions, and you want me to walk away?"

Yes I do, for your sake, to save you time, energy, and your self esteem. You have a prospect who's not committed, so what do you think the chances are you will be able to close the sale?

You'll be much better off shaking hands and saying, "I'd rather turn you down now than let you down later.", or something like that.

What a powerful statement to make. Your prospect is thinking, "What? You're not going to give me the show? Every other sales person I've had here does, and then I thank them and put them off till next week". However, next week never comes.

But you're different than all the other sales people. You don't have to waste your time with prospects that aren't absolutely committed to making a change RIGHT NOW!

I'm not saying you blow them off totally and never talk to them again. 'Now' may not be the right time for them. There may be some circumstance preventing them from moving forward at this time; however, they may be ready sometime in the future.

So you ask them if it would be okay for you to follow up with them. Then send them a thank you note, and put them in your follow up system. Make sure to stay in touch, or call them back when you say you will. Don't neglect this opportunity to sell some easy business at another point down the road.

Its good when you have these follow ups in your system, and a few of them pay off every month. It's a great unexpected boost to your sales, and your income, for that particular month.

If the prospect doesn't want you to follow up, that's okay too, just move on to the next.

Now, if you have a resounding yes to the four issues I noted earlier, then you should use a trial close to make sure the prospect is on the same page you are. The trial close does not need to be anything wordy or fancy. It can, and should be as simple as; "Are you really committed to making this happen?"

You can be more specific by including the problem they are looking to solve in the close; however, I don't believe it's necessary. What you want is for the prospect to give you a resounding 'Yes', so you know they absolutely must solve this problem.

If you've done every thing right up to this point and you get them to commit, the rest of the sales process, if done correctly, should lead to you walking out with a signature on the dotted line and a check in your hand.

The sale is complete, and everybody wins!

You've got your resounding 'Yes'; now it's time to make a simple statement that will lead you to the next step in the sales process. Make a statement leading to you presenting your product or service as the only solution to their problem.

Simply say; "Great, you're going to be glad I'm here." Or; "Great, let me show you how I can help."
About the Author
Jim Klein helps salespeople fine tune the sales process so they can confidently close more sales and create long term relationships. Get free sales training by subscribing to our free newsletter "The Sales Advisor".
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