You're excited! You finally got an appointment with that major prospect you have been attempting to see for umpteen years. You asked for and got 30 minutes to extol the virtues of your company and you have practiced what you are going to say and have made notes to prompt you along the way. Your nerves are a bit on edge but this is your opportunity.
You get to the appointment and the suspect (they are suspects before they become prospects) informs you they are really busy and can only give you 10 minutes instead of the 30 minutes promised. NOW WHAT? What's the backup plan? Now you are really nervous.
Let me suggest 5 questions to ask if you ever find yourself in that predicament. I know I found myself in that situation several times over the years. As time went by I developed a series of 5 questions that I would ask them in the 10 minutes they granted me and those 5 questions almost always engaged them in a conversation that led to them giving me more time than that 10 minutes they said they had. I had to improvise somewhat but the questions generally went something like this,
1. What issues are you currently struggling with?
2. What quality issues are you most concerned with?
3. If you could add 1 extra service that your current provider is not doing, what would that be?
4. How are you currently handling that service?
5. What criteria did you use to select your current provider?
Did you notice that none of the questions are yes or no questions? Each one requires an answer that allows you to probe deeper. For example, if they were to say I am not currently struggling with any issues you can respond by saying you really appreciate that and the main thing you try to accomplish is to provide companies with a "viable alternative" so in the event issues do arrive in the future they know who to call etc. etc.
You can create a response to each of their answers beforehand and you will come across as someone who is experienced in the industry. Another example...if they answer question 2 with "I don't have any quality issues", you can respond by saying that is always the goal and one of the things you do in each of your accounts is create a detailed checklist of the areas of greatest concern to your client and train your staff accordingly. What you have done is started the prospect on thinking about all the times they have had to remind the current vendor of that area in the President's executive wing that never gets the attention it deserves.
You see, if the prospect didn't have some concerns somewhere they would not have you in their office in the first place. In today's business environment most people are too busy to give you 10, 20, or 30 minutes just to have a nice chat. It is your job to find the door that is cracked open and squeeze in that door.
You may find yourself saying if it were only that easy. It's not easy, but the point of this article is to encourage you to always be prepared for the time that suspect throws you a curve. If you have created some predetermined questions and answers you can learn a great deal about the suspect in a short period of time and hopefully have them become a prospect and then customer.
Just some thoughts that we hope will trigger some ideas in your mind and even different questions than those above that you can ask. Just remember, too many questions and they will indeed invoke the 10 minute rule. Happy selling.
Let me also remind you of our special pricing on the new, 6 DVD, 12 lesson training program entitled, The BSC's Guide to Effective Supervision. The release date is around March 1 but you can pre-order at a very friendly price. Check it out at www.consultantsincleaning.com.
Till next time.