Time to Feed The Sharks.  Would you like to join me?

A. Heck Yeah!
B. How exactly do you feed them?
C. My questions are just too numerous to list here.
D. No. Just no.

Your answer tells me how to sell to you.

I bet you thought I was going to talk about out how it’s like a shark feeding frenzy out there. Or perhaps we would cover how your personality type performs best in sales. Nope.

Today we’re focusing on your prospective clients.
The ones you want to give you money. The ones you want to trust you with their business. The ones who will depend on you to help them succeed.

Selling is a Risky Proposition (for Your Client)

Would you try to sell high risk, volatile stocks to a retiree? Or bank CD’s with 1% return to a twenty something? Not if you wanted to make any money!

Selling to a business is no different. Decisions are still made by people and those people are taking a risk for themselves and the business when they purchase a product or service.

So how exactly should you use the shark feeding answers?

A. Heck Yeah!

Focus on:

  • Excitement: Show your excitement. Speak with enthusiasm.
  • The Payoff: Share the best result another client has obtained. Keep it honest.
  • Uniqueness: Offer them something that their peers don’t have. They want to be noticed, they want to be special.
  • Action: Ask for the sale, and be ready to get started immediately.

What doesn’t work:

  • Droning on and on like the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
  • Focusing on guarantees, minimums and the fine print.
  • Making this a me too product or service.

B. How exactly do you feed them?

Focus on:

  • Muted Enthusiasm: While they are intrigued by a unique or unusual idea, if you appear too extreme they will tune out.
  • Guarantees in Broad Strokes: They aren’t looking for a litany of clauses, just the highlights.
  • Discuss the Range of Results: This prospect believes they can achieve your best case scenario, however they are risk conscious enough to consider the effects of a lackluster result.
  • Next Steps: Discuss actionable, near term next steps and follow-up promptly.

What doesn’t work:

  • Droning on and on like the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (yeah its a repeat here, but just wait!)
  • Downplaying the risk. While this prospect is a risk taker, they want to clearly understand what is at stake.
  • Trying to make the sale on the spot.

C. My questions are just too numerous to list here.

Focus on:

  • Fact Finding Dialogue: Be prepared for a lengthy question and answer session.
  • Newscaster Delivery: You need to keep your audience interested with you inflection and tone, yet maintain an air of dignity and authority (hmm… just do your best here ok?)
  • References: The prospect may or may not actually contact the references,but having the list increases their comfort level.
  • Follow-Up on Unanswered Questions: Most likely you will leave the meeting with a list of questions that still need to be answered. That’s a good sign, they are interested. Follow-up diligently with responses before moving on closing the sale.

What doesn’t work:

  • Droning on and on like the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (wait for it…)
  • Pooh poohing a question or concern. If the potential client asks, it IS important.
  • Downplaying the risk. This prospect needs to understand the risk, and understand it well in order to make a purchase decision.

D. No. Just No.

What works:

  • Guarantees: The more guarantees the better. Point out all the guarantees, don’t worry about overkill.
  • Calling all Droners! Speak with restraint. Maybe not quite as bad as the bored teacher, but calm measured tones will work wonders.
  • References: Provide names, contact information and results. They will call them so be sure you choose wisely.
  • Your first born son: I’m kidding. Kinda.

What doesn’t work:

  • Over the top enthusiasm.
  • Best Case Results.
  • Pressure to make a quick decision.
  • Sharing the pictures from your shark feeding vacation last month.

Final Thoughts

Not comfortable with the shark question? Spend a little time reflecting on potentially risky things you’ve done, been asked to do, or your crazy cousin Tommy did. If it feels contrived, rather than a casual conversation, the client may be put off.

Do most of your clients fit into one category? What have you found that works best with these different risk personalities?