When you’re selling to a customer, you have an advantage because you have established a prior relationship. Customers already trust you and are aware of your expertise. When you’re selling to a prospect, they are more concerned about risks, particularly when the sale qualifies as a big deal.
Don’t get discouraged about selling big deals to prospects simply because you don’t have a prior relationship. Plenty of prospects purchase innovative solutions as long as the salesperson proves the benefits, puts fears to rest and offers value at a fair and reasonable price.
Unfortunately, there will be times when the deck is stacked against you, so watch for these warning signs:
-The customer requires complex pricing or an elaborate proposal, but refuses to engage in any real discussion about the opportunity, either face-to-face or on the phone.
-Prospects agree to meet, but it quickly becomes obvious that they’re just going through the motions—either so they can say they did their due diligence or to appease their boss—not because they’re honestly interested in a potential partnership with you as a vendor.
-The specifications have an obvious slant and you can tell they were written to benefit one particular vendor.
When you have concerns about the opportunity being a waste of time, you may want to push the matter and have a heart-to-heart talk with the prospect and ask, “Do we have a real opportunity to win this business?”
Michael Jordon, basketball star and fierce competitor, said, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” That’s good advice for any selling situation, but it’s particularly apt when you’re working on elephant-sized deals.
Big opportunities exist for sales professionals who know how to eliminate the customer’s biggest problems—sales professionals like you.