Sales Q & A: Goal vs. Objective
If you own a small business, then you need to know how to sell. So, what are your most pressing sales questions? Let us provide expert answers to them in this new Mind Your Business series.
With this article, we are introducing a new series inviting questions about sales pitches and responding to them. A COSE member recently asked about the specific objective of an effective sales pitch versus the goal. Here’s a summary of our conversation.
Effectively Setting a Sales Goal
Let’s start by re-examining the actual goal of any sales process. Obviously, it’s to make the sale … win the business … beat all the other competitors. But, remember that the goal from the prospect’s perspective is to choose the best provider/product/service that meets their needs and works within their limits of time, budget and staff. The two should not be mutually exclusive. Consider both sides of the proverbial coin as you work to set your sales goals.
Keeping it Classy When Losing
Also consider a counter-intuitive secondary goal for your sales process - lose with class. When you get that dreaded “Thanks, but no thanks” call or email, respond with class and style following these steps:
Classy Step 1: Thank the prospect for the opportunity to work with them and present your product/service.
Classy Step 2: Wish them success with their choice.
Classy Step 3: Ask who did win the business and why and what was your proposal lacking? This is important information that you might not want to hear but need to. And while you might not get straight answers to these questions, you’ll never learn anything if you don’t ask.
Classy Step 4: Close with a genuine wish that your paths might cross again with a future opportunity.
Classy Step 5: About the time the project should be completed or the product/service they bought should be fully operational, follow up with a call or note. Simply check in to see how they’re doing and their overall level of satisfaction.
Classy Step 6: Once in a while, the prospect may confess that their first choice didn’t work out or meet their expectations. And, by losing with class, you might get a second chance to win the day. Of course, that will rarely happen if you don’t casually check in with them.
Setting Pitch Objectives
That all said, the specific objective of the sales pitch is also important, but very different. Consider this approach: The objective of your sales pitch is to provide the prospects with all the information they need or want to make a fast, fact-based and logical decision on whether or not your product or service meets all their needs. Sounding rather counter-intuitive, you can accomplish your sales pitch objective by showing the prospect that you’re not their best choice. So, you can lose the goal while still winning the objective—no small solace, I realize.
Next time, we’ll consider another question about sales pitches. Until then, if you have a topic you’d like to have us discuss, contact me anytime.
Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication, 440-449-0356, and empowers business leaders to reduce the pain with workplace communication. A popular trainer and executive coach on writing, communication styles and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.