Prospects and customers buy for different reasons more often than you may think, yet many sales people use the same pitch for both. Our research shows they differ in buying values about 75% of the time. This leaves the door open for the competition when relevance is ignored.

There are variations on the theme for each customers and prospects that should be considered.  For example:

Prospects can be —

  • Potential buyers who have never heard of your company;
  • Buyers who know you, but have not yet chosen you over the competition;
  • Former customers who know you and have bought from you, but left, and you want to win them back.

Customers can be defined as —

  • Brand new—just came on board so you are in honeymoon stage;
  • Long term, loyal – you have lengthy, solid relationships with them, so close you may have even been invited to their kid’s wedding. One company was convinced that this was enough but learned relationships were just a “given.” Big changes were made to address very specific customer values like turnaround time and responses to issues. This resulted in a 50% spike in business.

Then, the Come and Go —

  • Price Shoppers – buyers who have little or no regards for who they buy from as long as they evaporate your margin;
  • Bounce Backs – those who learned “the grass was not greener”, and you have a chance to fix the issue, the other vendor bestowed upon them

Each of the above offer opportunities.  But the company who fully understands the differences in buying criteria for each and adjusts accordingly, score the highest returns on their sales efforts.

If you are selling speed to completion, and your locations to a prospect, for example, when all he/she wants is to know the level of expertise their assigned project manager has, you missed the mark.  In that same company, the existing customer who is now firmly entrenched with you, may very much want to know your metrics for quick proposal turnaround time.  But the prospect isn’t there yet.  Identifying this difference can significantly affect your retention and close rates.

At your next staff/sales meeting, ask your team if they have an awareness of the differences.  If so, how are they addressed in sales encounters.  Our clients use double blind research to find out exactly what the gaps are and how to sell to them.

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