You’re halfway to work when you realize you’ve forgotten your lunch. Stepping out of the car in the parking lot, juggling your briefcase and a stack of binders, your thermos falls from your hand, the energy elixir seeping into the cracks of asphalt. Despite these mishaps, you walk into the office, head held high, and cultivate the right sales proposal mindset, nailing a presentation to a client who you think is a shoo-in. That is until you hear nothing back from them…
If only you could project the future. You could have placed your lunch bag by the front door. You could have placed the binders in a bag, freeing up your arm space and leaving you with a full thermos of coffee. You could have listened to the latest Transformational Selling Podcast episode, The 4 Horsemen of Sales Proposals.
Instead, you’re self-reflecting, asking yourself a myriad of questions about where you went wrong and how you can improve. While this is lucrative to grow your skillset, in sales, it may not always be a you issue.
It’s easy to forget, but the professionals you talk to are humans who feel their own emotions and have their own barriers. Certain client challenges can bar them from saying “Yes” to you. Continue reading to learn what these challenges are, how you can help your client overcome them, and why you should work with people who are ready to take you and your offer seriously.
1. Readiness Factor
The readiness factor of your client measures how ready they are to work with you. It depends on how willing they are to make you and your offer a priority, as well as how aware they are of how your offer will help them transform.
So, every time you’re looking to work with a new client, ask yourself: On a scale of 1-10, how ready are they to work with me?
- One: the client doesn’t know they have a problem and they’re not aware of your solution at all.
- Ten: the client completely knows you, the problem they face, and they’re aware of how you can help.
Understanding your client’s Readiness Factor can make or break a sale. Download the Readiness Factor Scale so you can understand your client’s feelings and barriers and what they need, no matter which stage they’re at.
If you receive a “No” or silence, chances are you presented to someone who is at a readiness factor of 1-3. Aim to work with people with a readiness factor of 4-10. The closer to 10 their readiness factor is, the better. However, this doesn’t mean clients closer to 4 (or even 1) are obsolete. Sometimes it takes following up and showing the client their problem and making them more aware of your solution.
2. Status Quo Bias
Humans love routine, so people tend to not stray from the status quo of their daily lives unless they need to. For example, it’s that time of year again and you receive a notice of your car insurance renewal. Unfolding the paper, your jaw drops because the price jumped much higher than it did last year. Confusion and frustration bubbling inside of you, you call your provider and ask them why this is. They don’t give you the answer you’re looking for or a solution, so you plan to look around for another company to sign with.
People act on emotion, so you can help your client break out of their comfort zone by painting a clear vision of their problem, how it’s affecting their life now, and what their life would be like if they work with you. When people see the true value and recognize that it’s better than their status quo, they’ll be more ready to make that jump.
3. Loss Aversion
Loss aversion is the concept of avoiding losing something even if doing so will lead you to an equivalent gain. For instance, let’s say you’re looking to move but love the school district you’re in for your children. You find your dream house and swoon over it, but at your current house, the school is only a 10-minute walk away and you love the teachers and the community. Most likely, the amazing school district will prevent you from moving because you already have a decent house.
Clients are the same way in sales. If they already have a decent savings account, then why should they agree to the new one you’re offering them? Does it come with a promotion or a better interest rate? Highlight the value so that your client won’t be as hesitant to lose their current savings account and transition to a better one for their lifestyle.
4. Uncertainty Tax
One of the most common client challenges is the uncertainty tax. If there is one feeling humans hate the most, it’s uncertainty, as it can lead to stress, anxiety, and a sense of being powerless. If a client is uncertain about who you are, what your offer is, and how the offer will transform their life, these emotions will loom and deter them from working with you.
To remedy this, you need to build a rapport and relationship with your client. The more your client gets to know you, and vice versa, the more likely they’ll be to work with you.
Who would you be more enticed to take a free cup of coffee from: a random person on the street or a friendly neighbour?
Be the friendly neighbour. Get them to take your coffee.
Crushing Client Challenges Checklist
Now you know how to thoroughly understand your client and determine their feelings and barriers, which will help you close a sale no matter which stage a person is at. Going forward with each client, ask yourself:
- How will I instill desire?
- How will I create a sense of readiness?
- How can I engage with them and create awareness to help them move forward?
- How can I reduce my client’s risk and help them mitigate negative consequences they’re afraid to lose out on?
- If my client says “Yes,” how will I make a safe environment for them to buy?
- How can I instill comfort and reassure them that everything will work out?
- How can I enlighten them and help them see the long-term vision of growth?
When you answer these questions and apply your findings to your sales proposal, you’re making your presentation ready for each buyer stage, battling client challenges head-on.
If you need extra support, download my Transformational Selling Proposal Framework. It includes a plug-and-play workbook, infographic, and PowerPoints to guide you in the transformational direction of sales proposals.
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