Options - 7th of the 10 Kurlan Sales Competencies that are Key to Building a Sales Culture

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Oct 22, 2009 @ 05:10 AM

Everyone likes options, right?  So here are three options:

  1. I'll be the guest on Hubspot TV on this Friday's show which airs at 4PM ET.  You can watch it live from your desktop. 
  2. Speaking of guests, Ed Kleinman was my guest on this week's edition of Meet the Sales Experts. Listen to the the show (we spent a lot of time talking about John Lennon).  Ed, who is a well-respected coach to sales experts, provided an excellent demonstration of what happens when great salespeople, who do it naturally, are promoted to sales managers, and aren't able to articulate how they do what they do. 
  3. Continue to read this article, the 7th in my series on the 10 Kurlan Sales Competencies that are Key to Building a Sales Culture.

They aren't really options because you may do all three whereas with options, you can usually choose only one.

Competency #7 - Present No Options

Salespeople love to present options.  It makes them feel like they have more chances to win the business. It's such a popular approach that it's one of the few parts of the sales process that is universally accepted and named.  You know it as Good, Better and Best.  Companies actually have alignment on Good, Better and Best, sometimes using it in their retail stores and catalogs to provide category options.  How many times have salespeople presented you with 3 options?  Just last week, I was presented with 3 options at the Lexus Dealer where I got my LS460.

So, what happens when you present 3 options to your prospects and customers? Do they think to themselves, "Wow, isn't this great? - I have options"?  

To understand what happens with options we need to differentiate between salespeople who sell the right way and those who don't.

Salespeople who don't sell the right way typically spend most of their time presenting, talking about capabilities, giving demonstrations, presentations, and tours, creating proposals, giving quotes, and explaining features and benefits.  They do it almost from the beginning of the sales call, meeting or cycle.  The typical reaction of a prospect that is provided with 3 options, after being presented to in this way is, "I'm confused, I don't know what I need, I don't even know if I need this at all, at least right now, so I need time to figure this all out and better understand my choices."  That's right - your salespeople either get a "think it over", a "no" or a put-off. As you can guess, when it was time for me to sign the paperwork last week, I was presented with my 3 options.  I was in a hurry, and I'm not smart enough and certainly wasn't focused enough to process everything I heard in a two-minute presentation of the 3 options.  As a result, I was not able to decide what was best for me at that moment.  So, unable to decide, I said, "None of the above", and simply drove my new car home.

Salespeople who do sell the right way spend time doing what I talked about in Sales Competency #6 - they slow down to speed up. They build a strong relationship, demonstrate their expertise and create a sense of trust and credibility. They ask lots of good, tough, timely questions and learn about the issues and problems they can solve.  If they continue to work their way through the sales process by asking questions, stimulating productive conversation, and thoroughly qualifying their prospects, there can be only a single, ideal solution that is both needs and cost appropriate.  If salespeople who sell the right way present 3 options at closing time, not only would they turn an easy decision into a "think it over", they will have contradicted the notion that they are experts.  If your salesperson is an expert, and fully understands his prospect's issues, problems and finances, yet ignores all of the data points collected and presents options instead, then what kind of expert could he really be?  Only one of those options could possibly address and solve the issues and problems at the right price point.  So it must be another salesperson who doesn't listen to his prospects!

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan




Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Force, Closing Sales, options

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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