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If They Can't Quantify They Can't Buy

I think I'm on a Mr. T kick the way I keep talking about "Pain." (It's the weekend...cut me some slack.)

First we discussed if you were an aspirin or a vitamin.

Then we got into the need to have your prospects tell you the full extent of their pain. (The second link will go live Saturday.)

Now let's look at the importance of having your prospects quantify their pain.

If you're talking to people who only have a $50 problem while you sell a $5,000 solution...you're both going to be in a lot of pain.

The problem with prospecting for sales is, much like dating, you can't just come right out and ask

Hi, I'm in love. May I have your number so I can call you and invite you to Sunday dinner to meet my family?" 

Selling is just like dating.


There's the flirting and the playing hard to get and the courtship and the order of things that can only be skipped if you are okay with being slapped or finding a desperate dinner partner. 

So follow the sequence and use your "sales dog" to not lose momentum, even if you make a wrong move. 

But this doesn't mean the sale must take forever.

When a prospect is truly in pain and they recognize the need to take action, you can proceed through all the steps quickly in one meeting.

"But proceed through the steps, you must." (Say that in your best Yoda voice and it'll have a greater impact.)

Let's say you're an IT company that sells and services computers and entire networks for small businesses and your phone rings:

You: "Hi, Wes's Courteous, Kwik, Concise, Computer Consultants. How may I help you surf the web like a pro?" 

Prospect: "Yeah. Hi. I think I need some work on our corporate network. Can I get a quote?" (Lovely how prospects think we're just quote monkeys, isn't it?)

You: "Thank you for considering us. We'd be happy to provide you a quote if we think we can help you improve you network. Can you tell me what's going on?"

Prospect: "Look, it's just slow. Everything is slow. Nothing works like it should. Can I get a quote?"

You: "I'm sorry to hear that. When you say 'everything is slow,' can you elaborate? How many devices from smartphones to laptops to desktops to tablets to printers are on the network and how many are wireless vs. wired?"

Prospect: "We're a small business with 15 employees. Everyone is on the wifi with their smartphones and half the staff has laptops and half are on desktops. We have 5-6 printers and some smart TVs. Does that help?"

You: "Yes it does. How big is your office space as in square footage? Is this just an office or is there warehouse space as well that you're trying to cover?"  

Prospect: "Our office is only about 2,000 square feet but we do have a 5,000 square foot workspace in the back where eight of the staff work and they need access to their printers and PCs...oh yeah, there are five tablets out there too." 

You: "And when did you notice a slowdown in your network?"

Prospect: "Ah, heck, we've been fighting this for at least three months. It's a real pain and the owner said 'Fix this now, no matter what!'" 

You: "Oooh. Bummer. Okay. We'll get it fixed but it sounds like it needs to be fixed for real vs. slapping a Band-Aid on it, right?"

Prospect: "Oh yeah. No Band-Aids here. The boss is losing her mind with this."

You: "Really? How so?" (DO NOT get money-hungry here and go in for the close. GET. ALL. OF. THE. DETAILS.)

Prospect: "At least once a week we have to do a hard reset on the entire network. We can't print. We can't access our CRM. Support is down while the reboot happens. It's a real pain...and it's starting to impact sales and production." 

You: "It's starting to impact sales and production?"

Prospect: "Ahhhh, yeah. Well...you didn't hear this from me...but the issue that brought this to a head was when the owner and the VP were working on a major proposal and they were up against a deadline and the network froze and they lost about two day's worth of work on the proposal and missed the deadline. We then found out we would've won based on the bid we were going to submit...and that would've been 10% of our annual revenue on just that one job."

You: "Wow. So in round numbers what are we looking at there? $100,000? $1,000,000?" 

Prospect: "Well, our top-line revenue last year was just shy of $2,000,000, so that deal was around $200,000."

You: "Ouch. With good margins you're looking at a loss of at least $100,000 in net revenue, huh?"

Prospect: "Yeah, which is why my boss has had enough. She's so mad. Look, can you help me? I'm not a tech person but I need to get this handled, handled right, and handled now."

You: "You bet I can but I need to come over and take a closer look and meet everyone that would have input into this process. Can you get me in to look around and ask some more detailed questions so I can isolate the problem and give you a 100% guaranteed proposal that I can stand behind and help you grow?"

Prospect: "Sure I can. When can you come over?"

Most salespeople hear the question "Can you give me a quote" and immediately throw it on the board as a 99% done deal and take the rest of the week off.

You need to remain calm and cool and apply a little pressure in the form of asking better questions to see the extent and the impact of the issue(s) with which the prospect is grappling so you can determine not only if you can help them but how to do it properly.

If you've ever seen paramedics / EMTs arrive on the scene you'll notice how they usually take their time parking, grab their gear out of the vehicle along with their clipboards, assess the situation, then walk—not run—up to the injured person.

I asked about this once and they told me that when they are called it's because things are out of control and they have to be the ones to provide control and calm and support to a chaotic situation.

You need to be that source of support and stability in front of your frantic prospects, which also means remaining above the fray and assessing the situation before you take action.

The paramedic doesn't run in, see a person face down, and immediately roll them over and and start working on them.

They ask questions of everyone around:

  • What happened?
  • How old is the victim?
  • Is he allergic to any medication?
  • Do you know his blood type?
  • How long has he been like this?
  • Has he had seizures before?
  • Is he on any medication?

You need to do the same thing.

Before you can prescribe you must diagnose.

It's easier than you think...once you know the proper order and approach. May I help you get there faster? 

Now go sell something.
Wes Schaeffer
Founder, The W.E.S. Method™

P.S. What did you think of last week's Podcast?