Top TEN #5 – “Never confuse motion with action”
Being on a Spinner is like the sales prospect that never closes. A moving target in our forecast, stealthily slipping from one month to the next. Having it in the forecast makes us feel that something is happening, but the prospect is going nowhere. It’s the illusion of action.
Action is scary. Taking it can result in failure and often does. The avoidance of this pain plays into our universal tendency to procrastinate. This is closely followed by our universal tendency to find (or create) excuses for inaction.
It’s easier to push an opportunity to next month than to ask for the prospect’s business this month. What if they say No? What will we do then? Walk away from someone who’s not buying our product!? Yes! And invest that liberated time on prospects who will.
Time is our enemy. Timing is our friend.
In defense of motion, action for the sake of action is many times more dangerous than wasted motion or inaction. Without a plan, action is less effective and can even be damaging. It’s for this reason that I advocate having an agenda and sharing it with the prospect from the outset and asking for their feedback on it. Get the prospect involved in your sale. If they’re reluctant or don’t have the time, this tells us something about the reality of the prospect closing, despite what might be said. Maybe now is not a good time for them to undertake a serious evaluation of your solution.
During the first meeting (or call), we’ll share our draft evaluation plan with the prospect. It serves as a tool for collecting feedback and understanding the issues that most affect them. The plan is also a reflection of the value our product offers. Working with the prospect, we align their needs with our solution. We start rough but refine the plan as we collect the client’s feedback. Once complete, the plan is a guide for the prospect – made by the prospect with our involvement.
The goal of the plan is to get the prospect involved in seeing and experiencing our solution. Correctly done, this heightens their desire for our solution. Time invested by the prospect in evaluating our solution has a psychological effect too. It’s called the Ikea-effect and it means the more effort a prospect puts into evaluating our product (and company), the more likely they’ll buy.
More important than the collection of information is the involvement of the prospect. It’s their actions that matter. This is the most critical determinate in knowing if the prospect will be a client. If they’re engaged, it’s time to press forward. If they’re disengaged, it’s necessary to find out why before making an offer. A 90% discount doesn’t make up for value not recognized.
Footnote: The quote “never confuse motion with action” is attributed to Benjamin Franklin.