Do You See An Opportunity For What It Really Is?

what do you see as at 15032018Success in selling often comes down to how observant you are as an individual.  Do you see what is in front of you or rather what you think is in front of you?  Let me explain why this is important.


Over the years I’ve worked with salespeople across all industries many believe that the key to success is a good source of incoming leads.  These should be ‘easier’ prospects as they already have a need (otherwise why would they be in touch?) and it is just a case of convincing them that our version of what is available is better than the competition’s and they will buy.  In my experience this isn’t necessarily the case and the majority of leads don’t convert in many industries as the prospects’ understanding of our products and services isn’t always right, they expect us to be able to do things we can’t, and so on …  In the case of an incoming lead many salespeople deal with the prospect expecting them to buy at the end of the contact (call / meeting / email) and so don’t necessarily see what is in front of them.

I had such an experience with a very keen salesperson who had visited a prospect from an incoming lead and created a quote for a product with a value of nearly £140,000.  We travelled together to present the quote and on the way the salesperson told me how excited he was and that the opportunity was a very good one in his opinion.  When I asked he qualified the chance of success as 90% or above.  Sounded like we were going to have a good day.


old factoryWe arrived at the prospect’s premises and I was greeted by a company and premises that had seen its best days some time ago.  The building was in a poor state of repair, there was no staff manning the reception area and I would be confident in saying it hadn’t seen a cleaner for at least 5 years!  Walking through into the production area it didn’t get any better; there wasn’t a new machine or one less than 20 years old anywhere in the building.  There were dilapidated offices and an apprentice school area that they told us had closed back in the 1980’s!!!


I sat in the room with the salesperson on an observation basis and listened to him extol the virtues of his product (which would have been great for them) and I listened to the prospect’s team tell him how much they wanted one (and needed it).  I could understand why he was so excited … but it was clear he wasn’t looking at what was in front of him.  Whilst you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and appearances can be deceptive things have to be congruent; they have to go together.  There was no precedent this company had invested seriously in any equipment for many years, decades even.  The lack of staff in the reception area and the absence of a cleaner coupled with the closure of the apprentice school told us they were a company in decline and he should have balanced his enthusiasm for the gushing production manager and engineers with pragmatic questioning about their ability to finance it, understanding their current costs and business situation, etc… before getting so excited.  In no way was this a 90% chance of success, more like a 90% non-chance.  And so it proved.


How good is your vision and understanding in a sales opportunity?  Do you see what is really there or just what you think is in front of you (i.e. what you want to see) as did this young, enthusiastic salesperson?


A good test to understand if you see beyond what is in front of you is the Performance Factor test.  Read the statement below and count how many ‘f’s there are.


“The performance factor is the result of years of scientific research combined with many years of experience”


If you read 3 or 4 then you’re like most people.  The correct answer though is 6.  If you didn’t see them all have another go.  In many cases people who saw less than 6 will see less than 6 again, convinced that what they have seen is right (as did the young salesperson; he saw a company needing new equipment).


The 6 are:

“The performance factor is the result of years of scientific research combined with many years of experience


Always test that what you are told or shown is correct.  Check that things can be validated, that information is cross checked and that it ties together.  Likewise where a prospect presents an objection you can see things and reference things to help them satisfy their doubts, worries and concerns and in doing so overcome the objection by putting their minds at rest.  This can often result in sales being made where it may not have seen possible initially or in you selling more than you and the prospect had originally envisioned.


I wish you every success!


About trenthamwhitmore

Salesperson, trainer, author, speaker, student and forever curious about what makes top performing salespeople so much more successful than their contempories.
This entry was posted in Being A Salesperson, Conducting Sales Visits, Differentiating Yourself and Your Offer, Questioning Skills, Stories From The Road, What It Takes To Succeed and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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