Q4 Sales Tips
Getting on Your Customer’s Wavelength
While the competition is intense for today’s sales organizations to acquire new clients, it’s equally important to retain current clients. One of the strongest advantages of Q4 collaborative selling is building strong interpersonal relationships that can withstand outside efforts to entice clients away. It’s not difficult to learn the key concepts. Here’s an application of just one technique.
After lagging behind for several years, Erika’s company is rolling out a new product that’s better than anything her nearest competitor can offer. She is excited to show the new model to all her customers as quickly as possible, as we can see in her conversation with Dennis:
The materials are at the factory now. The line is up and running. So, we’ve started taking orders on the new model for delivery this spring.
Spring? I’ll need delivery before that.
Oh, no, I meant spring for delivery of the new model.
Good, because I can’t wait till spring. Fourth quarter makes or breaks my year.
No problem. We can deliver what you need immediately.
You’re sure? Because right now, I need to replenish inventory.
Absolutely. But I really would like to show you this new line today.
But I can’t get it till spring? I need to see product that can be shipped now.
I think you’ll like the new features we’ve added.
I’ll bet I won’t like the new price.
I’ll admit, the new model does cost a little more.
What a surprise. How much is “a little”?
Well, we’ve made big improvements on the new model.
Just let me cover my reorder levels — before those prices go up!
Can I show you the new one first?
Do I have a choice? Okay, show me.
Won the Battle, Lost the War?
Erika’s relentless pursuit of her goal has apparently succeeded. Or has it? Do you think Dennis is ready to consider the new line? What Q4 collaborative technique would help Erika to conduct this call more successfully?
Stop When There’s an Objection
Because Erika is determined to unveil her new line to every customer, she doesn’t see that she is talking at cross-purposes with Dennis. Once he presents an objection, she should stop, answer it, and explore his needs. Instead, she becomes Q1 controlling, determined to stick to her agenda.
Dennis finally gives in, letting Erika present her new product, but what is Dennis’s level of receptivity? Her product may be spectacular, but Erika has set herself up for a poor response.
How to Judge Receptivity
Q4 needs-based selling means continually being aware of a customer’s receptivity level during the selling process. You should always strive for high receptivity. Here are the clues to look for:
- Is Dennis listening carefully? His initial confusion about availabilities should have told Erika that he wasn’t fully engaged.
- Is he closely considering her ideas? Dennis was preoccupied with his own immediate needs, not thinking about next spring or new-model products.
- Is Dennis responding constructively? Most of Dennis’ responses showed his concerns, as well as his annoyance with Erika.
- Is he asking useful questions? None of Dennis’s remarks about the new model were intended to learn more. He was being sarcastic, fending off Erika’s new-product pitch.
Since none of the customer’s behavior revealed high receptivity, Erika should have put off her presentation. Instead, she pressed until Dennis agreed to look at the new line. But agreement and receptivity are not the same. She’s not giving herself a fair chance to sell if Dennis is distracted by his immediate needs. Meeting his needs first would have elevated Dennis’s receptivity.
Give Yourself the Advantage
We can’t tell if Erika will get Dennis’s commitment to the new model or not. What is clear is that if you don’t raise customers’ receptivity, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage for making the sale.