The last thing prospects want to experience during a sale is pressure or desperation, especially considering our current economic situation. Sometimes it takes sensitivity and a gentle touch to foster the process, as well as being empathetic and keeping an open ear.
People are dealing with all sorts of obstacles to moving forward, so be ready to hear some objections. For example, “Our CFO has all of our capital projects on a budget freeze” or “We’re in a real bind and waiting for help from the government.” If that is the case, you know that a transaction is not going to happen in the immediate future, so there’s no reason to make a hard sell on anything.
One of my favorite tactics is to appeal to their creativity. I say, “Imagine for the moment that you didn’t have a capital spending freeze. Is this upgrade something that you've talked about doing internally?”
This is an effective way to continue the conversation. You might be surprised by what you hear. It’s an insider’s view of the company. It also doesn’t hurt to ask, “How would you implement the project?”
This is when you take notes and remind them that in spite of whatever difficulties they’re experiencing now, the project could help them in the future. It’s the blueprint of something you can build together, beginning with a straw man one-page proposal. You can put it on hold, fully assembled, so it’s in the capital budgeting pipeline to be approved and funded as soon as things turn around.