Sales Opportunity: Who’s Buying the Next Round?

Sales Opportunity

The Key to Prospecting

Salespeople are often told that the key to prospecting is finding business problems that haven’t been solved yet. Then, they must demonstrate how their products/services can solve them. That’s a simple concept. What’s more, it’s difficult to argue with the logic behind it. However, it’s a concept that’s easy to forget. This is especially true when leadership drives sellers to focus solely on a sales opportunity, as opposed to the quality of those opportunities. On a recent road trip, I was reminded of something first-hand. Sometimes, all it takes to find problems that represent a quality sales opportunity is to get out and look for them.

A while back, I was working on a three-day assignment for a client. After hours one night, I found my way to a watering hole near my hotel. This particular bar was a fairly new brand name. It was one of about a dozen that had recently opened in that part of the country. I had come across them before when working in the area. So I knew I could find liquid refreshment (along with some pub-grub) before calling it a night.

I took a seat at the bar. As I was perusing the menu, I noticed that the bartenders were completely idle. Worse, every glass at the bar was empty. Soon, I was told that the computers were down. Consequentially, they could not serve drinks. The computers were tied to the company’s headquarters. So when drinks and food orders were entered, those entries fed daily revenue reporting, inventory, supply chain, etc. No computers, no drinks. I was also told that this happened once or twice a week!

sales opportunity

A Data Backup Plan

Having sold communications services myself, I understood their importance. This is true even for a small chain of bars. That’s when something occurred to me. A salesperson somewhere sold a data network to this company. And moreover, everything had likely stopped right there. Clearly, this bar needed a data backup plan. This would enable continuous service to customers in the event of an outage. This was something the seller had obviously not bothered to recommend. Or, perhaps, it was something the company had not seen the need for.

This bar was losing revenue by the minute. Furthermore, it was paying bartenders and waitresses to do nothing. Had the parent company been aware of this recurring problem, it would have been easy for that communications salesperson to sell a data backup plan. Moreover, the bar would have likely cost-justified the backup plan and purchased it. This opens the playing field for competitors to steal your existing business. Competitors can now demonstrate how their products and services solve your customer’s problems.

If we expect our customers to buy from us, we have an obligation to help. We must eliminate problems like the one experienced by this bar.

In order to identify a quality sales opportunity:

  • Identify the business problems your products are designed to address. Everything your company sells is in your product portfolio because it addresses one or more business issues for your customers.
  • Survey your base of prospects in order to determine which ones are likely to have those problems.
  • Develop a list of questions so that when you do talk with your prospects, you can determine whether they are, in fact, experiencing those problems.

So start looking for those problems that represent an opportunity for both you and your customers. Ride along with the delivery guys. Sit in the call center. Visit the assembly line. Or sometimes, just go have a drink.

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