Qualify with B.R.A.N.D | It’s Risky to Only Solve the Customer’s Pain
If you are only going after the customer’s pain, then you are selling to only a small part of how they buy.
Here’s some interesting generalizations:
- 25% of all prospects will NEVER buy from you – period. 25% of all prospects like you at “hello” and WILL buy from you the minute they first meet you. The other 50% are the challenging ones – the prospects that will force you to work for the deal.
- 60% of ALL deals never happen – they just evaporate.
So, how do you weed out the 25% that will never buy from you and also avoid deals that will never happen.
Qualify with the B.R.A.N.D. process.
Qualifying is something that great salespeople are keenly aware of – and a reason for their success. Unqualified accounts fill the funnels of the 57% to 64% of all salespeople who will not make their numbers this year. The reason behind this is a topic for another article.
Here’s an easy way to qualify your accounts, fill your funnel with true prospects, and have a timeline for when your customers will sign.
Use the B.R.A.N.D. process. Budget, Risk, Ability, Need, and Date will help you filter out the funnel fillers and pack your sales funnel with better qualified prospects.
If your prospect doesn’t have a check mark by all of these qualifiers, then take a pass.
Let’s explore each one individually:
Budget – The main point of this qualifier is to see if they even have a budget. It’s not uncommon for a prospect to invite vendors in just to see if their current supplier is treating them well. Just because a prospect wants to talk with you doesn’t mean they want to buy from you.
You can’t disqualify a prospect just because they won’t divulge their budget or seem cagey about what they are currently paying.
Sure it’s great if you can get an exact dollar amount, but most of the time customers don’t want to tell you that information. So, here’s some ideas on how to at least get an approximate number. Ask what other options they are considering. Do they mention a well-known competitor. Are they looking at just upgrading their existing product/service.
When all else fails ask them if $X is in their budget.
When asked, most prospects will tell you that price is a major consideration. Ask them if senior management would rather have a solution that works or one that is the best price. They will then tell you that they want both the lowest price and one that works.
There are so many ways this conversation can go – the main point is to see if this is a real deal, do they have a budget, and are you talking with one of the Decision Makers.
Risk – risk can be looked at two ways. First, what is the risk to the company if they do nothing. Second, what is the risk if they do something and it doesn’t work.
Eliminate the element of Risk and you have a really good chance of selling the deal.
The Risk goes up as the purchase price and complexity of the deal increases.
As Risk increases so does the number of people in the process. If you are selling a high dollar, complex product/service and are only meeting with one person you will most likely not make the sale.
Discuss Risk. Ask the Decision Makers how they are mitigating their risk. Then do what the other vendors are not doing – tell the prospect everything that might go wrong when they purchase your new product/service.
Risk is fear of the unknown. Most vendors tell the prospect that their solution is fool-proof and that their installs are perfect thinking that this will make the customer feel positive – wrong.
Prospects know that things go wrong – they normally do when people are involved. Customers don’t like surprises – they get upset when products/services don’t deliver as promised. So, reduce their fears and eliminate risk by going over all the possible problems and how you will solve them. No big deal, these things happen, and you know how to fix them.
Then ask them how the other vendors are planning for the eventual glitch.
Risk is reduced and your chances of making the sale have increased when you are transparent about what can go wrong.
Ability – does the person you are talking to have the ability to say, “Yes”.
For most B2B sales there are 6+ people involved in the decision-making process. Even if you are talking with a decision maker (DM) you still need to talk with the other people involved in the decision-making process. In addition to the DMs also find out who will be the person who puts pen to paper and signs the deal.
We mentioned how the number of decision makers increase with the price and complexity of the deal. Get to know all the DMs. The more people you get introduced to the better your chance of making the sale.
Need – this is essential – if there is no need then why are you even having a discussion. Need has several elements. Pain is just one element of need. I’ve seen lots of companies who are OK with their current situation because the Risk to change is greater than their Pain. They would rather suffer than make a change.
Need can also be a desire to change the way they do business. Maybe they need to change in order to be more competitive.
Need can arise from a new product introduction. Your prospect now needs your product/service to have a successful product launch.
Need can be due to failure – their existing product/service just crashed or is no longer serviceable.
Discuss with your prospect all of the possible choices including doing nothing. Here again be completely transparent in your discussion. Let them know how your product/service can safely satisfy their need.
Need is a strong driver or trigger event, but don’t think that this is the only reason that a prospect will make a purchase.
Date – this element is important. I believe in having a multi-year funnel. Find out when your prospect will need your services and sell to that timeline.
Your product/service may satisfy the prospect’s Budget, Risk, Ability, and Need elements, but your prospect is on a schedule and will make the purchase when the time is appropriate. Your ability to move the signing date is also related to the price and complexity of the deal. As we mentioned earlier, complex and costly deals involve lots of people and your chance of getting all DMs to agree to sign earlier, or to move a Board Meeting to another date is slim.
Have lots of deals in your funnel and sell to the prospect’s timeline. Too many salespeople try to close business to meet their quota objectives – or in an attempt to save their job, and then lose the deal because they pissed off the prospect by rushing the deal. Customer’s generally buy when they are ready and have the BRAND elements satisfied.
Don’t walk away from a long timeline – and just as importantly, don’t try to force their timeline into your need to make quota.
Find prospects who meet the BRAND elements and are serious about buying. Don’t keep prospects in your funnel just because they are willing to talk with you. And don’t keep prospects in your funnel so that you can fake your way through a funnel review with your sales manager.
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