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Leading Your prospects Down the Right Path

30 Oct, 2003 By: Jay Wallus imageSource

Leading Your prospects Down the Right Path

friend in the office products industry told me that his client was looking to
upgrade their current analog copier to something digital on the network. I got
the office manager on the phone and she said to come in. When I got there, all
she wanted was prices and as soon as I gave them to her, she said that she'd let
me know. That's the last that I heard from them. They won't return calls or
e-mails. This keeps happening to me..."

This is
what a salesperson told me in a recent training class. "What did I do
wrong?" he asked. My reply was simply, "What didn't you do
wrong?" Most salespeople that I meet often take the old "hope and
pray" approach to sales. They think that since they've had some success
with sales in the past, that they don't have to put the time and effort into
preparing for each and every appointment. "It takes too much time to
prepare," the salespeople would say. "When I find out what volume the
prospect is running, I'll show them the right machine."

How can
anyone get upset at a prospect when the salesperson didn't lay down any ground
rules ahead of time? The prospect is simply doing what's in their best interest…wouldn't
you? They don't have to do things the way that you want and, more times than
not, the salesperson is seen as a dishonest person trying to get a big

proper way to ensure that things follow a logical and focused path in the sales
process is to let the prospect know what you're trying to accomplish. The
salesperson and the prospect must keep the communication process open and up
front with no surprises and nothing coming out of left field. How can you do
that? The easiest way is to send the prospect an e-mail as soon as the
appointment is scheduled. My favorite title in the subject line is, "Thank
you for the meeting, understandings and next step." The body of the e-mail
can go a number of ways, depending on the type of meeting it's going to be. Is
it to learn about their network and needs of the client? Is it to present a
proposal and get a decision?

body of the e-mail should state exactly what the meeting will be about and what
you'll be covering during that meeting. Specifics include: 

A little bit about your company 

o Current product/services and vendor(s) you're using -What do you like most
about them? -What do you like the least? 

o Reasons why you're company fits many of their copier/printer needs 

o You're view of how your company can help -Your feedback 

o Budgets for this project - Lease vs. buy discussion o Path forward/next step -
How we can keep our lines of communication open

most important element is that this e-mail can be developed as a template for
your dealership. It actually becomes part of the whole sales process in the
company. Did you ever think how much time is currently being wasted on prospects
that have absolutely no intention of buying from you because they're just trying
to keep their current vendor honest? What about the people who would like to buy
from you if you're dealerships is the most "cost effective" choice?

fundamental problem is that the prospect is the one who is running the meeting.
The e-mail confirming the understandings says to your prospect that 1) you're
there to do business and not waste time and 2) you're a professional.

you go into the meeting with that same e-mail and put it on the table, it sets
up a whole new dynamic to that appointment. Why? Because no other rep will do
that…period. They'll be the ones who are chasing the prospect while your
chances of a successful outcome go up. Great reps who take the extra time to
send over this simple e-mail save themselves a lot of time and always have a
clear understanding of where they're going while all of the others keep asking
"Where did I go wrong?"

- - -

Wallus is the founder of Street Smart Training Institute in Stoneham, MA. 
His Street Training Program brings management together with salespeople in a
team environment.  Contact Jay at 781.438.5660 or jwallus@streetsmarttraining.com.

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