The Sale that Happens After the Sale!
Frank Belzer is the Sales Archaeologist and Author of Sales Shift.
You have done a great job. You identified compelling reasons, you established a great relationship with the decision makers, everyone involved directly with you has witnessed first-hand your expertise and you have had the chance to show genuine concern and provide advice that goes above and beyond. Everyone you have spoken with seems to agree that you have the sale and there is an agreement in principle to move forward.
And then everything stops moving – what happened?
You were just getting ready to Celebrate!
Although it appears that you have pretty much completed the sale it is important to remember that often there is a sale that happens “after the sale” – this sale happens internally and usually is a forced result of push back or resistance that occurs inside the organization. That doesn’t make sense you say, in this scenario you are dealing with the decision maker! Be assured it makes no difference. Some DM’s are not capable of dealing with the push back they receive from their people internally – regardless of their position or role. What are some of the specifics that make this a problem and hold up the close?
- The desire to change and improve the situation - the desire to get your help is not as strong as the desire to make everyone happy and stay “friends” with the employees.
- Some of the most vocal discontents and complainers will be some of the favorite employees and that will create pause “I wasn’t expecting that from him or her, maybe there is something to it?”
- They were sold and sold in such a way that they believe 100% and now they feel obligated to create that same sense of belief or consensus internally and they just not capable of making that sale for your product or offering like you are.
- The people that give the pushback seem to be bringing up new angles or things they haven’t considered but in reality these are not calculated business strategies – just simple complaining. Imagine what happens when you start building your entire business strategy around others complaints!
- They simply lack the fortitude to be great leaders – when Jack Welch eliminated different divisions of GE the push back was enormous – GM’s and Managers complained, Shareholders revolted and the Press questioned his sanity; Yet today he is held up as a true business leader and model for CEO’s to emulate.
So what can you do to help your client make the sale internally? Offering to help and offering to take the heat will help a little and is something that you should do but really what needs to happen most is you need to understand what they will do when they face it. Set expectations for them – “you know there is probably going to be a lot of resistance to this change, are you OK with that?” Start preparing your prospects for the negative impact of changing as well as the positive. Change is never easy and whether you are helping someone go from one bottled water company to another or helping them implement a $500k ERP system that will always be the case.
One more thing - let them know that the success of this change is directly connected to their desire and willingness to LEAD their people. " The companies that have done really well and benefited the most from _____ have one thing in common, the person driving the change was determined to lead and promote the change within the organization and they were committed to see it through to the end"
In our business we face this all the time. CEO’s worry about the response of the VP’s .VP’s are concerned about the GM’s or Sales Managers response and so it goes down the line. We have to prepare our prospects and clients for that resistance. We usually encourage people to move quickly rather than drag things out and gain “consensus” for that reason – the longer you take to pull of the band aid the more it hurts. As Chip and Dan Heath point out in Switch change in itself can be hard. Furthermore as Spencer Johnson covered in who moved my cheese? Many are not going to respond well to change even after the fact and the change is implemented. Your prospects are depending on you to help them manage that – let them know you will.