Selling Tips from the Sea – Part 3: Read the Signs

It may seem obvious, but how many times have we stayed on the course of our business development campaigns, only to find that we went the wrong direction? Often we fall victim to what I call “sales blindness”. It is condition often found in sales professionals because many of us are naturally optimistic by nature. We have to be. Every day we are bombarded with objections and rejections. We must persevere to succeed. Unfortunately, our strength can often be our weakness. Sometimes we ignore the changing tides of business. Nothing remains static. Our target market’s needs may be altered, their buying power affected. These, and other factors can influence how we approach decision makers. We just have to read the signs. When we are paying attention, we can see them.

What can change look like? Your prospect was eager to meet with you last time you met, but now they seem stand-offish. One of my favourite questions to ask at the beginning of every meeting is, “Since the last time we spoke, what’s changed?” I have to be quiet after I ask this question because business buyers are usually surprised to hear me ask it. They are used to selling professionals diving right into the conversation, as if no time went by, since the last time they communicated. That’s a mistake. Since then,your client-to-be interacted with other decision makers and influencers. Budgets or timelines may have been altered and agendas have certainly changed.

Selling Tip: So find out by asking one question, “What’s changed?” at the beginning of your conversation, not when it is too late.