Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There's A Wrong Way To Respond To Acceptance

An inexperienced salesperson might think that when they receive acceptance from a prospect, they're headed towards a surefire sale. Not so fast. There's a wrong way -- and of course a right way -- to respond to acceptance.

Don't always close on acceptance. If you have exhausted all the specific value that you know you can offer to fill a Value Opportunity, it may not be enough to gain full acceptance. You may have to do more research on what you can provide (or could provide) offline and then have another conversation with the prospect. Try to find out specifically what they would need to address that Value Opportunity in order to be sold.

Mild acceptance may be confused with indifference or skepticism.
This occurs when you don't line up enough value specifically to differentiate between the attitudes. Some people can accept value statements but still be indifferent or skeptical on a point because you have not given them enough specific value (causes skepticism) or they are not the decision maker (causes indifference). If you have told them enough about your company that specifically aligns with their Value Opportunities, it's harder for them to be indifferent or skeptical.

Realize that with mild acceptance, you need to probe to learn what will escalate their acceptance from mild to strong, deliver that value, and then close again. Go back to add additional Value Propositions to already identified Value Opportunities or probe to identify additional Value Opportunities and present Value Propositions to address them. Here's a hypothetical example for a sales rep from Jameson Publishing:
Sales Rep: "Are those the kind of people you're looking to get your message to?"
Prospect: "Well, kind of."
Sales Rep: "Can you tell me what would make that a more attractive lead?"
Prospect: "If they solely concentrated on end user solutions the the retail clothing market."
Sales Rep: "Oh, I see. Something like Joe Schmoe, one of our readers that I was talking to last week. He's looking to implement an inventory management solution at Schmoe's Hat and T-Shirt Company. Is that the type of lead you're looking for?"
Prospect: "Yes, exactly. How do I get in contact with him?"

Ideally, you would avoid skepticism and indifference by fully understanding Value Opportunities and addressing them with customer-specific value you can provide.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of three leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, and VertMarkets.

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