By the end of a sales call you should have a pretty good idea who you’re dealing with. I’d say most people will fit into one of five categories:
- We don’t have a problem — some customers simply don’t have the problem your product or service is designed to solve. Some customers have the problem but are unable or unwilling to see it. The final possibility that sits here is that they know they have the problem, but they don’t believe your product can solve it.
- We’ll wait for a major player — people buy from people that they know, like and trust. The wait-for-a-major category accept they have a problem and that you may even be able to solve it, but they’re unwilling to take a risk on a company they don’t know. It may be slightly unfair that they’ve invited you in when they’re too risk averse to buy from an unknown.
- We’ll do it ourselves — I always hire someone to paint my house, the guy next door never would, ever. Some people, departments or even entire organisations are more like me, some are more like my neighbour and will try to do pretty much everything on their own. I’m sure they don’t invite people in just for the influx of ideas, but for some reason, when they see something new, they imagine it’s easier or cheaper to do it themselves.
- Come back with version 2 or 3 or 4 — some people are always waiting for the next version, or until the price comes down, or for some other imagined improvement that they know is on the way. They might think you’re not yet ready for their particular situation yet, or that they’ll wait until other people have helped you iron out your kinks.
- Looks good, what are the next steps?
Many people can be nudged from any of the first four categories into the final group. Many can’t.
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