You can start a conversation that leads toward a sale; however, it’s often more challenging to complete the transaction. Whenever you find yourself struggling with this you need to remember that if you don't harness emotion, you'll not likely create enough motivation. If you don't have motivation, you're not likely to see forward motion. In short, you need to get people excited about taking action.
Let's look at the backstory of the average sale. Most prospects you approach already have a full plate. It's not as if they're sitting around waiting for a salesperson to visit them so they can undertake a new due diligence exercise and then write a check. Your job is to offer them an outcome they want and can believe in, something pressing enough to make them demote something already on their to-do list and focus on your proposal instead.
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that energy reduction or saving money is going to drive the bus. I’ve spoken about this many times. You need to connect the dots between what you’re offering and something your prospect truly cares about. Often it has nothing to do with money. It may be about improving productivity, keeping employees happy, or finding an unexpected way to fund other projects they’ve been putting off for years.
This leads me to my second point: you need to quantify and monetize as many benefits as possible. For example, let’s say a sales professional visits a facility with suboptimal lighting and suggests an upgrade to LEDs. Depending upon ceiling height, technical requirements like explosion-resistance, etc., this might be a relatively expensive project. Installation might be further complicated by an unwillingness to interrupt the activities happening under those lights. But what if the sales professional were to focus on something else that’s important to the company? Something that trumps most other obstacles? How about safety, for example?
The sales professional measures the illuminance throughout the facility and realizes it’s only 40% of what the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America recommends for the tasks being performed. Knowing this undermines employee safety, the vice president of the company and the plant manager immediately put the project on their To Do list.
Why would that motivate them so quickly? How about liability for any worker injuries that would have been prevented with greater visibility? No one wants to see work-related injuries or the associated legal morass that often accompanies them. Avoiding those injuries and lawsuits is more pressing than saving money or energy. Moreover, potential additional benefits like greater thermal comfort, decreased scrap rate, increased productivity and less turnover would be bonuses.
In the end these kinds of sales should have a sense of urgency, and it becomes less about utility-cost savings, budgets, and rebates and more about considerations that are pressing and emotionally compelling. Remember, you’re unlikely to see motivation and forward motion in the absence of emotion.