It may sound simple, but one of the best strategies for determining the ideal sales approach for a given prospect is to get into their shoes. There is no universal sales strategy that works across the board, so you need to figure out exactly what each prospect cares most about and work that angle into your proposal. So how do you do this? Talk to people. Talk to store owners, building managers, hoteliers, even manufacturers. Ask them, “What would make your life easier?”
I’ve had the opportunity to teach a lot of eco-entrepreneurs – people that go out there with new inventions, new ideas, new twists on an old theme. I ask each of them, “What do your potential customers think?” The response I hear is often, “Well, we haven’t really talked to anybody yet because we don’t want anyone to steal our idea.”
As a serial entrepreneur, I certainly understand the concept of protecting intellectual property. That said you can’t build a business without exiting stealth mode before you declare your offering is ready for sale. You have to get out there and talk with your future customers and figure out what they really care about. Otherwise you’ll wind up with a product that's the equivalent of a car with four square wheels. You're going to wonder why you went out of business and why you ran out of capital before reaching profitability. Before you launch a business, you have to talk to people and tailor your business model to offer something that your targeted prospects would actually buy.
The implications for energy-focused sales professionals is obvious. You need to talk to your prospective customers. If you ask the right questions – and listen carefully to their answers – you’ll learn exactly what they would value and how they would prefer to buy it.