The ABC’s of Finding the Hottest Prospects
By Craig Elias
This is the second blog post in the series of my 15 most effective sales tactics.
In my last blog post, I talked about how selling to hot prospects instead of time wasters makes you 5 times more likely to make the sale, how to tell hot prospects from time wasters, and I promised to show you a really simple way to find more hot prospects.
Finding the hottest prospects is simply being first in with those who recently experienced an event that triggered them to become dissatisfied with the status quo — I call this Trigger Event Selling™.
Don’t mistake a pain or a circumstance with a Trigger Event — It’s crucial to understand the difference.
For example, a married man who’s going bald wakes up every day older, heavier, greyer and balder. These are circumstances that he doesn’t do anything about until he experiences a very specific Trigger Event. That Trigger Event is becoming single. Now he buys a gym membership, buys new clothes, gets a new car, and starts using Rogaine — All because of the single Trigger Event of becoming single.
The same is true with decision makers and B2B purchases.
For B2B decision makers, a circumstance might be a company’s falling stock price or shrinking margins. Maybe for some reason they’re unhappy with their current solution or vendor, but that’s not enough to cause them to change their priorities and all of a sudden buy something different.
Now you know what you’re looking for, finding the hottest prospects is simply a matter of finding opportunities where a decision maker has recently experienced or is about to experience a Trigger Event that makes them want to change.
This is easy as ABC because these Trigger Events fall into three categories.
Awareness Trigger Events are driven by a seller’s organization. Most sales people try to move prospects into the Window of Dissatisfaction by attempting to make prospects believe that they are better, faster or cheaper than the current supplier.
Some sales people even try to challenge a prospect’s Status Quo by sharing some really good ideas or valuable advice. The problem with this approach is that if you have the best ideas but someone else has the best relationship your ideas are often borrowed and given to the sales person the prospect would rather do business with. In other words even if this gets you a first meeting your odds of getting second meeting are about 7%.
According to Forrester Research, only 15% of executives say their meetings with salespeople met their expectations. And only 7% scheduled follow-up conversations.
Even after a successful first meeting, advancing the conversation and maintaining the prospect’s engagement is essential to meeting quota. Only 7% of sales people are able to get a second meeting. (Sales Benchmark Index)
My experience is that challenging a prospect’s thinking is 10 times more effective when one of the two following Trigger Events has happened.
B: Bad Experience with the Current Supplier
This type of event is driven by your competition and there are three ways a prospect will have a bad experience:
- People. E.g. A change is the sales person responsible for the account. Remember this the next time a sales person for the incumbent supplier to a prospect changes jobs.
- Product:. An example here is when an announcement is made that a supplier will be no longer be supporting or end of lifeing a product.
- Provider. A material change in the provider is often created by mergers or acquisitions. You would be amazed how often a merger or acquisition triggers mass customer exodus.
While bad experiences are effective in prompting buyers to make a change, they tend to be hard to identify and difficult for salespeople to track. Here are some suggestions to make detection easier:
- Salesperson — Document the current vendor and account executive of each of your opportunities in a marketing automation or CRM system. When you get wind that an account executive quit, search their name in the system and reach out to their former customers.
- Product — Keep track of which specific products each prospect uses. If an offering undergoes a major change, send a message to gauge if the customers are still happy with it.
- Provider — Reach out to all customers whose providers have recently experienced a merger, acquisition, or another major organizational shift.
C: Changes Within the Prospect
As evidenced by the description, these events are driven by the customers themselves. Similar to bad experiences, they come in a few forms:
- Change in people. A new decision maker is up to 10 times more likely to switch vendors than their predecessor and research by DiscoverOrg shows that of those who will make a million dollars worth of decisions in their first year in a job — 80% of them will do so in the first 90 days. See this blog post to learn how to turn one bounced email into four opportunities.
- Change in places. When a company opens a new location, it might have to comply with new legislation or local requirements.
- Change in priorities. If one player in the industry moves, the rest won’t be far behind. Watch for competitive shifts that create shockwaves of urgency across the industry.
It’s very important to reach out as soon as you know a Trigger Event has happened because Trigger Events turn on what I call selective perception (I think the scientific term is reticular activation). Just like when you buy a new car and start seeing it all over the road or you get pregnant and all of a sudden you start noticing pregnant women everywhere prospects that experience Trigger Events all the advertising and content marketing that they never noticed before now jumps out at them.
There are many specific forms that trigger events that make prospects want to change and move them from Status Quo into the Window of Dissatisfaction can take but they all fall into one of these three categories. To fully capitalize on the Trigger Events that create hot prospects you need to conduct a special form of sales analysis that will show you exactly which Trigger Events work best for you sell
I’ll cover this in my next blog post.
Originally published at https://shiftselling.com.