How can you spot a prospect who is going to lead to a sale versus one who isn’t?
It’s easy to get caught up in generalizations when it comes to this question. Is it the responsive people? Is it the people who will tell you everything you want to know? Is it strictly the people with ‘director’, ‘executive’, or ‘C’ in their title?
In a recent blog post, Amy O’Connor issued this piece of unorthodox advice for identifying golden prospects:
“Everyone wants to work with the nice buyers. The nice buyers are already getting plenty of attention and help from dozens of other salespeople. But guess who’s wide open? Guess who no one is spending any time assisting? You guessed it – the mean people! Winning the sales from the mean people is the best way to increase your sales exponentially and quickly.”
O’Connor’s logic here is sound. Mean people do represent the low-hanging fruit—albeit fruit that no one wants to touch. And for this reason, mean people might be more responsive when they do receive assistance. In other words, mean people, according to O’Connor, are a sort of blue ocean opportunity. But does that unpleasant exterior really increase the odds that they have what it takes to guide their buying group to consensus?
My point here is that, according to research on the different types of stakeholders within typical buying groups, a stakeholder’s ability to lead you to a closed sale has little to do with their likability.
As pointed out in CEB’s “Winning the Consensus-based Sale” presentation at the 2014 Sales Enablement Summit, people who might talk your ear off and offer up gobs of information about the inner workings of their organization might not be the type to actually take action or advocate for your solution.
Nice or mean, this person will likely turn into a dead end.
On the other hand, you can identify those people who will mobilize the buying group and shepherd them to a decision—not by their demeanor, but by their tendency to posit thought-provoking questions, question the status quo, and enact change in their company.
These prospects can be nice or mean, talkative or pensive, helpful or standoffish, but they are always crucial to advocating for your solution and bringing the five or so people in the buying group to a decision.
So when it comes to identifying your golden prospects, avoid those skin-deep generalizations and look instead for those traits that will really make a difference in your next sale.
To learn how to help Sales empower prospects to bring the buying group to consensus, click on the orange “Watch Demo” button below.