From a very long experience in practicing complex solution sales we here at Customer Centric Selling Europe have learned that is a lot easier to get a decision maker to share a business goal that to have him to admit a problem in his organisation. Problems are often embarrasing and the decision maker might be reluctant to tell about his organisation’s problems to a stranger he or she cannot completely trust.
In fact, we have discovered over the years that very few salespeople are able to get especially senior-lever decision makers to admit critical business problems. At least this requires a lot of trust and rapport, which really takes quite a long time to develop to this stage. Therefore, discussing goals is usually a lot easier. Oftentimes it is also beneficial for the salesperson to help the decison maker turn a problem he has admitted into a goal instead. It is, after all, more pleasant to talk about goals than about problems, isn’t it?
No Goal Means No Prospect
The CustomerCentric Selling™ methodology suggests that a sales opportunity should be considered started or active when the decision maker shares a business goal. In fact, a core concept of the CCS™ methoddology states: No goal means no prospect. So the sales cycle begins when a decison makes shares a goal – and without a goal there is no prospect, no opportunity and no sales cycle.
Also, when each sales opportunity in a salesperson’s pipeline is based an a real critical business goal, which has been shared by a decision maker there will be less unsuccessful or stalled sales projects. Therefore it is critical to follow this principle to keep the sales funnel flowing at a good, steady pace.
Our advice to salespeople is, start your discussion with a decision maker by focusing on the positive: his or her business goals. Only once you’ve been able to get the decision maker to share such a goal is it time to start uncovering the related problems, which lie behind not being able to reach his or her goal.