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Read a Customer's Mind to Win This Game!

Want to sell more quickly? Then you've got to be able to read your customer's mind. Fortunately for you, your customers are all thinking the exact same thing... in the exact same order. The big questions is: do you know that order? Here's a little game that assesses how well you can read the customer's mind when it comes to this all-important decision-making process.

When you first contact a prospect, which of the following questions is uppermost in the prospect's mind?

INCORRECT!
That's not what the prospect is thinking at this point. If your sales approach is trying to address that issue, you're either delaying the sale or (worst case) scuttling it completely.
CORRECT!
The very first decision that every prospect makes is whether they want to do business with you personally. Even if the prospect is dying to buy something, even if the prospect knows and trusts your firm, if you come off as irritating or obnoxious, you'll be fighting an uphill battle through the entire sales cycle. That's why sales trainers keep driving home that first impressions count!

You've gotten through the first hurdle. So here's the second:

Once the prospect has decided that he or she can do business with you, which of the following questions is uppermost in the prospect's mind?

INCORRECT!
That's not what the prospect is thinking at this point. If your sales approach is trying to address that issue, you're either delaying the sale or (worst case) scuttling it completely.
CORRECT!
Whatever you're offering the prospect, it's your firm who will be ultimately responsible for delivering. The prospect wants to make sure that he or she is not taking a risk by hiring you to handle that aspect of their business. If you're fortunate, the prospect may have already heard of your firm, ideally from a colleague. But if not, it's contingent upon you to sell your firm -- not by bragging or making vague claims -- but by showing an example of how you've helped customers similar to this prospect.

You've passed two hurdles, so here's the next.

Once the prospect has decided that he or she can do business with your firm, which of the following questions is uppermost in the prospect's mind?

INCORRECT!
That's not what the prospect is thinking at this point. If your sales approach is trying to address that issue, you're either delaying the sale or (worst case) scuttling it completely.
CORRECT!
Once the prospect has decided that it's OK to work with you (as a general issue), the specifics of the situation become more important. The prospect will want to know whether or not what you're selling will truly be of use. This is the part of the sales cycle where you identify needs, diagnose problems, and map your offerings into solutions that address the prospect's needs and goals. Standard sales stuff, of course, but then...

Once the prospect has decided that you've got something that he or she needs, which of the following questions is uppermost in the prospect's mind?

INCORRECT!
That's not what the prospect is thinking at this point. If your sales approach is trying to address that issue, you're either delaying the sale or (worst case) scuttling it completely.
CORRECT!
Congratulations! you've completed the quiz!

The prospect looks at value, and then timing, not the other way around. If the value isn't there, then the timing is irrelevant. That's why you need, through the sales cycle, to constantly position your product as being worth the investment. It's only after that point that you need to address the timing, which is the very last element that is of interest to the prospect.

So, then, for the record, here is the order of how most customers make a buying decision, when they are contacted by the sales professional:

  • #1: Do I want to do business with this particular sales professional?
  • #2: Do I want to do business with the firm this sales professional represents?
  • #3: Do I want and need the product this sales professional is offering?
  • #4: Does the value and price of this product meet my expectations?
  • #5: Is this the right time to make a decision to buy this product?
Sales happen quickly when these decisions are made in the correct order and sales are delayed when a sales rep allows the decisions to be made in the wrong order. So your job is to address those decision-making points -- in that order.


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NOTE: The idea behind this game comes from a conversation with Duane Sparks, author of "Selling Your Price: How to Escape the Race to the Bargain Basement". Please note that a different order occurs when the customer has already done research and makes the first move by contacting the sales rep.