You haven’t disqualified the prospect. The prospect hasn’t disqualified you. What’s next? The close.
If you did a good job of identifying pain, uncovering budget, and identifying the decision making process, and if you have a firm up-front contract, it’s time to close.
Closing the sale includes two elements: fulfillment and post-sell. Let’s take a look at the fulfillment phase.
It is in the fulfillment phase that you will make your presentation. The advantage of waiting is obvious—your presentation will be focused only on the pains you uncovered, meet the budget parameters you have identified, and be targeted to the real decision makers. If you had made your presentation earlier in the process, as so many salespeople do, you probably would have provided lots of information that was irrelevant to your client, and left out the information that is crucial to their needs. Now, after following the Sandler qualifying process, you are presenting to the individual or group who can make the final decision with confidence that your product or service is meeting their needs at a price they are willing to pay.
The fulfillment phase has four elements that will get you a signature on the dotted line:
1. The Review. It’s important to review the pains you’ve uncovered, budget issues and the decision making process. If nothing has changed, then review the up-front contract about the presentation. If the contract is still valid, go ahead with the presentation. If, for any reason, the contract is not valid, you must deal with changes, and possibly reschedule the appointment.
2. The Presentation. The purpose of the presentation is to get a decision from the prospect, not to educate. It should cover only the features and benefits that specifically address the prospect’s reasons to buy. Ask the prospect to identify which issue is the most important, and deal with that first. When you’ve covered it thoroughly, ask the prospect if they are completely satisfied with the way your product/service will address that issue. If the answer is no, stay with that issue until you get a yes. Then establish the next most important issue, and follow the same procedure.
3. The Close. The close occurs when the prospect makes a decision: yes, close the sale; no, close the file. The sooner the decision maker says yes, the better off you are. Cover two issues in your presentation, then “take the prospect’s temperature.” That is, establish how close your prospect is to saying yes on a scale of 1-10. If the prospect is already at 10, you don’t need to go any further. If they are not at 10, find out why. The prospect may just need to hear more pains addressed before they are sure. Or, you may have to do more work in addressing the pains already presented. An important point—you don’t have to finish the presentation. If the prospect is ready to buy, you can move on to the next phase.
4. The Confirmation. It’s important to encourage the prospect to confirm the sale. Once your prospect’s temperature reaches 10, ask “How would you like to move forward?” Explain that moving forward means determining the next positive, progressive step. Now it’s up to the prospect to close the sale, or abort it.
You can see the relationship between the qualification process and closing the sale. The groundwork you laid in qualifying the prospect is rewarded during fulfillment. You are able to enter the fulfillment phase with all the information you need to successfully close the sale.