I’m at a client site this week (Good Practice), teaching them how to become decision facilitators. As part of their training, I sit with each of them as they learn to make the phone their friend, and practice Buying Facilitation™ on cold calls.
These sales folks are long-term professionals, responsible for millions of dollars of business annually. Yet they are discovering wholly new responses and possibilities for starting client relationships.
What are they doing differently from what they used to do? They are directing their efforts to supporting the off-line issues prospects have to address before they are in a position to consider making a buying decision. They are not using sales techniques. They are not gathering data, or understanding needs, or pitching. But their results are far more successful than if they were selling.
My client sells JIT learning solutions to large numbers of users in corporations, universities, and government agencies. Usually, their sales cycles are long because of the different types of decision makers involved: L&D, HR, technology, Training. Now, using Buying Facilitation, with a single cold call, they are learning how to efficiently lead buyers through their normally confusing journey through internal buy-in for change.
Here is what my clients are noticing on these cold calls:
- time: cold calls are going from an average of 4 minutes to 24 minutes.
- acceptance: without asking for a meeting, they are being asked to come in for face-to-face meetings in order to meet the whole Buying Decision Team.
- respect: within the first 15 minutes of the cold call, their opinion is being sought and prospects are asking how to best bring my client’s solution into their environment.
- creativity: the prospects are opening to new possibilities that they hadn’t considered, with initial plans to use my client’s solution as part of their internal resources.
- rapport: laughter, fun, teasing, collaboration. Within minutes they are in a “We Space.” It’s delightful to hear.
- numbers: they are going from getting 10-15% agreement for a face meeting, to being asked to come in and present about 40% of the time (with no numbers yet available as to how that will increase by the second call).
Are we selling? Well, no. But the buyers are being given the tools to put together the right decision teams and make plans to design internal change initiatives that include my client’s product. On the first call.
By helping buyers manage their off-line decision-making and helping them understand and consider how to welcome and manage change, they are opening the door to a sale, entering the buyer’s environment far earlier than they could if they were selling, and becoming part of the Buying Decision Team on a cold call. They are indeed collapsing the sales cycle.
Most of all, they are truly serving their prospects and helping them discover their own excellence. If we can’t help our buyers achieve excellence, we’ve got nothing to sell anyway.
p.s. If you want to contact my client Peter Casebow to find out how he is finding the change, and how it is affecting his business, email him.