Challenge Your Prospect’s Expectations

Too many salespeople tell every prospect the same thing, either because they’re lazy or because they’re not taking the time to evaluate that prospect’s situation and needs. As a result, those salespeople fail to deliver messages that truly resonate with their prospects. The result? An unnecessarily low closing ratio.

I remember reading a fabulous story about this concept of telling people what they really need to hear. The story described a sales professional who was offering a complicated service in the context of a complex bid process where the final step was making a one-hour formal presentation to the folks who would ultimately select the winning bidder. His competing bidders had squandered their respective one-hour presentations, essentially reading a synopsis of their proposals.

This final bidder, however, took quite a different tack. In the opening minute of the meeting he said, “Everybody else probably came here and read you their proposal. We have more respect for you than that. We know that you can read. What I’d like to do is spend the next 59 minutes telling you what should have been in your request for proposal (RFP), and how much exposure you’ll have if you select a bidder based on the requirements and evaluation criteria as they now stand in your RFP.”

What do you think happened? Everyone in the room listened very intently. They soon realized how many blind spots they had failed to anticipate when drafting their RFP. Not surprisingly, the original RFP was cancelled, and the one that took its place was very much in line with the changes recommended by this final bidder. Once the new RFP was out on the street, it was an obvious choice to select the bidder who had opened the prospect’s eyes.

This is yet another example of the effectiveness of Challenger Selling. Look for ways to customize your offering to better fit the needs of your prospects, and don’t be afraid to challenge their expectations. They’ll thank you for it in the end.


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