New Year: New Broom?

Be SMART with your resolutions.

Be SMART with your resolutions.

Although not my habit I know a lot of people like to make New Year resolutions so I thought I would start this newsletter around this theme.

How was 2012 for you?  I have asked a lot of people this question in recent weeks and almost all of them said something like; tough, tight, difficult, delayed, etc.  I found it interesting to hear business people, almost universally, admitting that things have been tough where their normal habit would be to put a positive shine on whatever had really happened.  So, it seems that there is now a general acceptance that the prevailing economic climate is the new normal – none of us like it but we have to accept it.

On asking additional questions I found a number of common themes and three particularly interested me:

  • A common complaint was that after what appeared to be a positive first meeting, where the prospect expressed apparent interest in the solution being discussed, nothing then happened. No response to follow up calls and no follow-on meeting. The supplier may have sent a proposal or quotation but still could not get a response.
  • Many people also reported having a sales pipeline full of great prospects but none were making decisions.
  • The buying process used by most prospects has become convoluted and drawn out.

These points interested me partly because they are real show-stoppers for anyone in B2B selling and hence are really important to solve which is why I have chosen as the main topics for this newsletter; handling objections and influencing prospects’ decision making.

A thought for you to kick-start your year – “If you keep doing what you have always done you will keep getting what you have always got”.  We have referred to this well-known quote on a number of occasions and we repeat it here as it could be the reason people are not making decisions, not getting back to you or the buying process they are using seems convoluted to you.

One quick example; if you have sent a proposal because that is what you have always done when the prospect reaches “Stage-X” in your selling process you need to ask yourself whether this is still (if it ever was) the right thing to do.  Perhaps prospects now expect something different from suppliers and therefore your proposal may fit your selling cycle but it does not fit their buying cycle.  You need to understand what the prospect expects; content, timing and sequence.

So for those whose resolution is to go on the offensive and drag yourself out of the gloom, read on