Salespeople have many erroneous beliefs. One of the most pervasive and damaging beliefs they have is that they should schedule appointment with every prospect or buyer that will agree to see them. It’s this mistaken belief that causes them to run helter-skelter throughout their territory wasting hours and hours meeting with any and every potential buyer in hopes that their efforts will result in finding sufficient numbers of buyers who will do business with them.
The reality of this process is that less than half – considerably less – of the prospects that they have initial appointments with do not end up becoming clients. There is something terribly wrong with a process that fails 60% to 70% of the time. And even though salespeople admit to the high failure rate of this process, they continue to do the same behavior over and over and over again. They do so because they don’t know any better and because they do not have a more effective process.
A more effective approach and process would require that the prospect earn the right to receive a visit from the salesperson. One of the ways of doing this is to have the prospect complete what we at New School Selling call an Uncovery Worksheet. This Uncovery Worksheet contains a series of questions that the prospect is asked to complete and fax or e-mail to the sales person prior to the first face to face to meeting.
Requiring the prospect to complete this worksheet prior to the first face-to-face meeting does two things: number one, it determines the prospects level of commitment and reveals their willingness to be open and truthful; secondly, it gives the salesperson some basic understanding of the problems, issues and concerns that the prospect has. Knowing these issues ahead of time the salesperson is able to ascertain whether it makes any sense or not for both parties to commit their time to meet with each other. In some cases the answers from the Uncovery Worksheet will disqualify the prospect as someone that the salesperson should meet with. If the prospect balks, resists or fails to complete the Uncovery Worksheet they have simply disqualified themselves as a serious prospect with which the salesperson should spend their time.
This unorthodox and nontraditional approach is often met with great resistance by sales people who, incorrectly, believe that this approach will lead to fewer closed sales. It will not. What it will do is reduce the number of first-time appointments and proposals that are generated by the sales team. The number of closed sales will remain the same or increase and closing percentages will skyrocket. The end result is fewer wasted appointments, fewer wasted proposals being generated, and more deals closed in less time.