First, I have to give credit where it’s due. Steve Martin, owner of the Heavy Hitter Sales Blog, came up with the idea of a “sales zone.”
Basically, he says there’s three sales zones in any given situation:
- 15% of all sales are in your zone (meaning the sale is basically already made)
- 15% of all sales are in your competitor’s zone (you have almost no chance of making these sales)
- 70% are up for grabs
The Key to Winning the Remaining 70% of the Sales: Figuring Out What Sells Before Your Competition Does
Now, this is far from an easy process. It could take months of highly technical market research.
But as a skilled sales pro, you talk to prospects all day long. So, you can get some sense of why people are actually buying from you and not the competition.
Here are some tips for doing that:
1. Actively listen to each prospect. 80% of your conversation should be spent listening, and 20% of it talking. Whenever something your prospect says is unclear, ask questions until you have a precision understanding of what they’re saying.
2. Plan some of your questions ahead of time. There’s no way you can anticipate every question you’ll need to ask your prospect. But, you have a general sense of how to talk to your prospects.
3. Ask permission to ask questions. If you use a wrote list of questions, some prospects may feel a little defensive, like you’re interrogating them. You want to get full and truthful information from them.
If you give them a little warning first, they’ll be more at ease, and you’ll get honest answers so you can understand their real needs better.
4. Focus on the relationship. Even if you’re not sure what your prospect wants, you can win many sales just by building a strong relationship with them. If you zone in on just closing the sale, you lose out on so much value long-term. Sales superstars know the lifetime value of a client is much more important than closing the sale today.
This could mean telling your prospect your solution just won’t meet their needs. You may not make the sale, but you’ll win credibility and respect. They’ll be more willing to refer future leads to you in return.
5. Do an informal survey. Maybe your company can do a more planned and strategic one later on. But for now, ask them what they really want to buy.
Many times, you’ll also get surprising information. That could eventually help your company become the leader in your niche.
I don’t think you ever find your perfect sales zone. It’s an ongoing process. But the closer you can come through hard work on the front lines every day, the more successful you’ll be.