3 Steps to Closing Complex B2B Deals Blazing Fast | The Covert Closer Blog by Justin Weeder
Apr 29, 2020
It's your heart pounding away in your chest again.
This week's pipeline review is in 10 minutes...
And as if they knew, you just got an email from your contact at the biggest deal in your pipeline saying they're going to "hold off for now..." and that you should "call them in 6 months."
Shit. Everything was humming along, and now they want to wait.
You put your head in your hands and contemplate how to explain this to your sales manager. You know you're going to have another unproductive pipeline review. He asks about the account that was right on the line... and you have to explain how you haven't gotten a signed contract.
Awkward. Your boss tells you for the umpteenth time to go back and 'get the pain' from your prospect.
You shuffle back to your desk, uninspired and unmotivated to call, so you write an email to the customer. You know the email is going to come off as clingy and desperate, but you don't care.
The last thing you're going to do is try and open another discovery conversation. That would be suicide! They'd never sign if you did that, you don't want to piss them off.
First, the Truth About 'Finding the Pain'
You've heard the phrase, "find their pain" over and over again in your career. It's in every sales book, sales course, sales training, and sales playbook you've seen. What they never tell you is how to actually do it. And that's because they often don't know themselves.
I'm not saying your manager doesn't know how. He doesn't remember how he learned it. And he doesn't know how to help you replicate the success. He thinks that telling you to find the pain is good enough, and that you'll figure it out eventually - just like he did.
That's true. I have no doubt if you're reading this, you'll figure it out. I want to give you a shortcut. A formula. The formula will help you find and amplify pain with every customer, as long as it's there.
It's called the Empathy Equation. What + Why + How. Asking these questions in sequence, helps your customer organize their thoughts. And then magic happens. The customer will open their soul up to you like you're a priest in a confessional.
Let's break the equation down into it's component parts.
Step 1: Exactly How to Start Every Discovery Conversation
Start your discovery off by asking, "What made you decide to reach out?" or "What made you decide to take this meeting with me today?"
The customer will tell you a surface level reason for why they decided to jump on the call with you.
Most sellers jump the gun. They act like the customer knows exactly why that's a problem. Assumptions abound, they dive right into leading questions. Or worse, start pitching right away.
If you do that - your discovery will skip across the surface like a flat rock on a pond.
And that's how you end up in the horrible purgatory of endless follow-up dates and brush offs. To motivate your customer to take action, you need to help them see the truth of their situation. It also helps if you paint a pretty picture of the future while you're at it.
In other words, find the pain. The pain lives in their beliefs, feelings, and desires.
Step 2: How to Get Under the Surface of Their Beliefs, Feelings, and Desires
Take what they say to your 'what' question from before and follow it up with a question that starts with 'why'. This is where things get hairy. I can't tell you in a blog post how to craft the perfect 'why' question. Only you will know exactly what 'why' question to ask, based on your industry and what the customer said.
The main idea is to ask WHY that is. Suppose they said they're looking to automate some business processes. Ask them, "Sounds like you've given this some thought. Why is automation important now?"
Quick note: If you're too afraid of how you think a customer will react, stop selling. Professional selling is not for you, and you're better off getting a job as an accountant or HR generalist.y. You'll get eaten alive out there and never make it anyway.
Deal velocity increases when you help people see why their current situation sucks. They can't leave the call with you feeling like the status quo is fine. People who are happy with the status quo don't make moves. And your job is to get them to make moves. If asking questions that will do that scares you, you'll never be a top performer.
We're now under the surface of your customer's presenting problem. Let's continue the dive and find out their motivations, beliefs, and desires.
Step 3: Separate the Buyers From the Time Wasters
You've asked two questions and gotten some pretty valid information. You asked what made the customer decide to look into a new solution. And you found out that they want to automate some current processes.
Instead of stopping there, you asked why that's important today.
Let's say they responded with:
"Because we read online that automation is possible and we want that for our business. We didn't know that was possible."
Sounds like a slam dunk, right?
All you need to do is bring home the close on this one, right?
They said they want that for their business. There's no pain yet, they have a wanty-feeling for some new slick technology. You'll run into time wasters like this all the time. especially in software sales.
They want to 'see what's out there' or 'kick some tires' or 'get some rates'. There's a problem though... these people look like buyers but they ARE NOT BUYERS.
You need a good way of understanding that as quick as you can. Here's how, "Oh, awesome, you're staying up-to-date on the hottest tech in the industry. Good for you! Just wondering... how have you been handling that aspect of your business up til today?"
Their answer will give you valuable information. That information will tell you a lot about their motivations. It might also help you expand on other ways to help them.
But most important of all... it gets them talking about how terrible the current way they're doing things today is. And you can follow those statements up with more concurrent empathy equation questions.
Sales IS a Numbers Game, but It's Poker - not the Lotto
Either way that you look at it, sales is a numbers game. You need to have a high number of inputs to create a small amount of outputs. The efficiency of your machine is going to depend more on skill and qualifying than it is on pure luck.
Sure, Ronnie Smith, the brand new AE that just started fresh out of college sitting next to you can stumble onto a demo with Intel, or Salesforce, or even Ripley's Believe It or Not... but that doesn't mean they'll have the skills to close them.
Those skills belong to the Elite that take the time to develop them and hone them. Your skills are your weapons, your armor, and your trade. Make sure you're leveling them up - as you would if life were a video game.
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