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You’ve just proved your product’s benefit claims and moved your prospect one giant leap closer to the sale.

Now what?

You’ve must understand that you’ve just convinced the prospect to buy something.  You shouldn’t be so sure it will be from you.  You must understand the steps needed for the prospect to make a decision and anticipate what other options they might consider.  There are four important parts to the evaluation process…

Let’s briefly look at each one…

  • Before you even try to close the sale, you must understand who will be involved in the purchase decision. Often there are financial, technical, user and manager roles in major purchases.  Sometimes one person has the responsibility for making the purchase; sometimes it’s four or more different people.  You have to understand the prospect’s unique situation in each new sales campaign.
  • Then, you need to structure urgency. You agree with the prospect on the evaluation process and then urge them to commit to a timetable for completing the evaluation.
  • After you’ve helped establish the schedule, probe to understand competitors. Don’t just identify industry competitors–find out about competition for funding, alternative ways of getting the same benefits or competition for people’s time.
  • Finally, you want to identify, influence and redesign the prospect’s buying criteria.  Never argue about buying criteria-just get your prospect to discuss it.  Your questions, confusion and clarification of a prospect’s priorities and re-phrasing of his comments can rewrite the buying criteria in your favor with little or no stress.

You can use the buying criteria to introduce a surprise benefit, or a special buying opportunity in exchange for a quick decision.  Most sales people offer little guidance to the prospect on how think about the evaluation process.  Don’t be most sales people!