Monday, February 06, 2017

The ABCs of Sales - S is for the Short List

If you are not on the "Short List", the prospect will not buy your product or service. Out of sight is out of mind, and not being on this important catalog of those under consideration is the fastest way to lose a potential sale.

When I work with sales professionals or speak at sales meetings my key point is how "sales skills" do not matter if you are not being seriously reviewed by the decision makers.  Long before you can build rapport, demonstrate your product knowledge, ask open-ended questions, actively listen, communicate solutions, overcome objections, negotiate the best deal, or close the sale you must be one of the final vendors the buyer is considering.

Many who buy from you will talk to more than one vendor, but they cannot consider every company in your industry.  No matter what you sell, you have competition.  In many cases you could have dozens or hundreds of competitors.  However, most buyers (regardless of industry) tell me they interview about between two to four providers when seeking to make a purchase.  If you are not on that final list of approximately three, then you have no chance of getting their business.

Nothing leaves money out of your paycheck faster than missing out on being on the "Short List".

Too many sales people and their managers are constantly worried about how to close sales. While this is important, it is eclipsed by the need to get on the magic list of finalists.  This is more than simply prospecting as it involves making sure that you are one of the few that they believe can deliver on what they need after they narrow their choices.

There are many things that go into regularly appearing on more of these lists.  It is a combination of consistent prospecting, relationship building, reputation and branding, and developing a strong word-of-mouth network.  

Instead of being solely focused on hitting a sales quota, the best sales people are equally interested in making sure they are under consideration every time there is a deal to be made.  If you are on more "Short Lists" you will close more business. Period.

All sales professionals know that over time their sales statistics become a numbers game.  If you close one in five proposals, you know you need to present to 5 more prospects for each sale you hope to make. "Short Lists" are the ticket to more contracts. Finding these opportunities where you are seriously being considered should be a high priority.  While you will lose some of these deals, and wins are not always in order (lose four, win one), the key to selling is being on the list. 

There is nothing I hate more than knowing there was a prospective customer to whom I could deliver the perfect product, only to discover they did not look at my offerings.  If I can get them ponder the value of working with me, I can only then have a chance at winning.

Go out and get on more "Short Lists" and watch your business grow.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

******Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking greater success.

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