Sellers are taught to ask probing questions, trying to discover what the opportunities can be uncovered, where the “pain” may be that will allow us to present “the solution”, win hearts and minds of buyer, win the sale, and win the day. But often despite a good execution of the “probing”, the prospect pouring their guts out, the sale does not follow. While many turn to continuing to fine tune their probing, they should instead expand their area of probing. They need to move off pain, product, solution track, and probe around the propensity of the buyer and their organizations to change and or act.
We have all seen scenarios where despite all the right elements being in place, there is no sale. While that is not the worst thing, what is, is when sellers then spend a disproportionate time of energy, emotion and time, trying to get the sale based on the logic of the fit. While they can recover from the wasted effort, they cannot ever get back is the time, a real non-renewable resource. The answer is to add a line of questioning to the lines you already use.
It starts with a simple line of questioning around their current process or means of doing something, this will you a base to work with. From there you can explore how they have traditionally dealt with specific things, and how they have progressed over the years. If they have remained relatively constant, upgrading only when circumstances have forced them to, you are likely dealing with someone with little or no propensity to change until it is, or close to being late. This is not a judgement, it may work for them, but is a clear indicator of someone slow to change, and you need to diagnose and act accordingly.
On the other hand, there are those who respond to your question by presenting a series of actions they have taken in anticipation of market conditions, or maybe even to force conditions. If the reasons for taking proactive action, is tied to a proactive view of the market, they are likely a better prospect than someone with equal “requirements” and benefit profile, but with a history of inaction.
The key here is to spend more time with the right prospects, those most likely to buy (from you). This is not about selling to your “dream client”, after all those only exists in your sleep/dream, what this offers you is an opportunity to deal more with those where the rewards truly match your efforts. It is the best way to avoid the rabbit hole of a good solution fit, but a buyer with a history of inaction. We are all good at moving on when the solution is not right, this enables us to walk away when the propensity is not right, not to be fooled by the fit of the solution.
You can’t change the buyer but you can very much change your approach!
One other thing to keep in mind to execute this approach to the fullest, explore this both on a personal level of the buyer, and on a corporate level. The individual may be willing to act, but is prevented from doing so by their companies culture and policies. Chances are a proactive individual will have moved on to an organization that appreciate and encourages their ability, but it is never a bad thing to test things on both levels.