If you have been in sales for awhile, you have probably experienced a unicorn. That magical sale that falls into your lap. No need to follow up, no sales cycle, no work. No problems. The buyer said yes to everything, and the set up went off without a hitch. When this happens, salespeople are grateful for this anomaly and hurry to close the deal for fear of it falling apart.
If it seems too good to be true, it usually is- right? When unicorns appear salespeople rush to the next deal without looking back. What if this was not a unicorn? Could this be an alignment of circumstances, people, and events that can be identified and recreated? Would this change the way you looked for and identified prospects?
Call me Later
We have all heard the dreaded call me back in six months. Salespeople typically view this as a brush off. They think, yeah right when pigs fly! The question to ask the prospect is why? Why did they say this? They could have said no, not right now, or we are happy with our current solution instead. What else could be going on that we had not entertained? It could be possible they know they have a problem and are not ready yet to deal with it. If this is true why wait to solve it? If there is a problem ask why they want you to call them in six months. Depending on what you hear respond accordingly. The why behind the reason may uncover a need. What's the worst that can happen? They blow you off, well didn't you think they were anyway?
The unicorn jumps through the window of opportunity only when the stars are in alignment. Take time to ask questions to uncover why the timing was right for the client. Look for these kinds of situations to be present in future clients. Some salespeople design their prospecting efforts around critical indicators to purposely get in the window of opportunity, I call this smart selling. Make a list of the variables like budget, turnover, dissatisfaction, industry trends, and other change events to design an intelligent prospecting plan.
Do you have clients with whom you click? Sales is a great way to develop relationships that last a lifetime. The relational bonds I experience are part of what makes sales such a great profession for me. These clients keep their ear to the ground for opportunities and have been a source of referrals. If you have clients you call friends, what was it that caused these relationships to bloom? Was it you, them or a combination of both? Did you help them in a crisis? Go the extra mile? Provide exceptional service? The big question is how do you create more of these experiences for the next client?
I sold real estate for a decade and the most important thing to me was exceptional customer service. Before, during and after the sale. I get together with many of these past clients today. I have watched families grow and shared life experiences both happy and sad. To me, these relationships are far more profound than the last or next sale will ever be. These are the type of raving fans I'm speaking of, do you have raving fans?
Catching people in the window of opportunity is the best way to sell. You are helping people in a time of need. Look for the type of environment, situation, and change events that exist in the window of opportunity. Pay attention to the what, where, when, and how to determine whether the window of opportunity is open. Look to the past to uncover sales activators in the present and future for your prospecting efforts. Discovering an opening in the window of opportunity will create faster sales cycles and save time in your prospecting efforts. Be intentional in your sales process and start tripping over more unicorns.
Luck can be found at the intersection of hard work and perseverance.