The Death of Maybe

I’ve probably trained 150 different companies over the past twelve months with our in-house and open training workshops.

But nothing prepared me for what I saw not long ago.

I was doing the usual thing:  trying to work out why a company wasn’t selling much.  And as usual I asked to have some quiet time alone with the database.

Here’s what I found:  922 companies in total.  19 had been closed in the past 90 days.  42 had said “no”.  And the rest were “maybes”.

Put another way, this particular company could only get a definite answer from a client 5% of the time!

The rest of the clients were in limbo – they simply hadn’t given an answer.  And this wasn’t a company with a particularly long sales cycle either.  So “maybe” was costing this company a lot of money.

I’ve never been a big fan of the “maybe” in selling.

While I think there will always be a few people who take a while to make up their minds, most consumers (you and I are in this group!) know one way or another whether we are going to buy or not within a relatively short space of time.

And as consumers all we need to help us get to a definite answer is one of these three dynamics:

a.  The product or service you are selling smacks us in the face with so much value that we can’t wait to buy.  “In fact”, we think as we reach for our wallets, “this would be criminal of me if I didn’t buy right away before they change their mind”.  Result?  YES!

b.  The product or service you are selling needs your help, so you use your skills of influence and persuasion to help match the product to the customer’s needs.   Result?  MAYBE!

c.  The product or service you are selling really doesn’t do it for your customer.  There’s no point continuing to persuade – they’re just not that in to you right now.  Result?  NO!

The point is, you too might have a database clogged with “Maybe” like the client I referred to previously.  And if you do, I will give you the same advice that helped contribute to the “death of maybe” in their organisation:

Take affirmative action – NOW!  If you feel that you have too many people stuck on “B”, then move them to “A” or “C”.

How do you do that?  By recognising where they are in your selling cycle, and coming up with a way to move them in one of two directions:  forward, or out.

As I mentioned at the start of this article, I have some experience at helping sales people and account managers to move their customers to action – one way or another (but preferably the positive way of course!).  There are ways and means, but none of them will replace simply giving the customer a plain and accurate view on where they are right now, not forgetting to remind them of your value of course!

Give me a call if you would like to get to the Death of Maybe – I can give you some free advice or you can try any of our sales workshops.

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