Where is my sales process failing?
I am a professional headhunter specialising in middle and top management search in advertising and marketing. Now there is a problem with new clients. I find a new client (company), we meet and negotiate rates and staff needs. Then the client says: "I have to think" and disappears OR we can't approve a contract (client begins to impose its conditions of work). No client as a result OR pointless negotiations.
Without knowing more, you may be positioning your services wrong or ineffectively. Sometimes using the wrong terminology or wording can cause mistrust, uncertainty or other reactions that you might not notice - especially if you use the same approach over and over and are too close to it.
At the end of the conversation, the other side should be so compelled, interested and motivated, that they ask, "How do we get started working with you?". If that's not happening, review your presentation in detail and test various changes to it.
A big mistake is in telling prospects what YOU want them to hear instead of what THEY want to hear and what they NEED to hear. Those are 3 very different elements in a presentation, they all play a part in advancing your value throughout the communication, and all need to be used correctly in a specific sequence according to who you are presenting to and their needs/wants/priorities.
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The rates you are proposing may be very high and you must be more flexible when it comes to the client conditions imposition.
Do you have already a proven track success on your recruiting activity? This is to show your clients of course. Do you have satisfaction stories by your other clients? Do you have clients that stay with you for several years? Do you have previous references?
What is your presentation like towards your client? What is your images?
Maybe the services you are offering are not conducive to the clients needs and you are trying to push it when they don't see eye to eye with you. Maybe you can consider thinking about your approach to your services or go in with a kinder, softer approach to find out what your client needs. Services are need based. You find your niche there, then you can convert your clients into sales. If your services are not what the client needs, then you won't convert your clients into sales. Clients you want, know their business better than you do. Remember that. You cannot assume that your services are the bomb when you are bombing in sales and conversion. Take EGO out, be humble about what you can or cannot do and figure out how you can help your clients achieve what they see and envision.
I have tried to analyze the question and comments on where Alexey Markov's sales process seems to be failing, and what he could do to achieve a turnaround. As with cases where you don't have sufficient information, one can only make a calculated guess. It does appear to me that in addition to some extraneous factors, the key failing point has been in the area of prospecting for clients ab initio. Prospecting accurately helps to minimize rejection and increases the chances of getting and concluding a deal. Alexey Markov could do well by reviewing that stage of his sales process with a view to finding out what works for him.
From your writing, I observed that there is no problem with new clients. Your clients are benefitting from your experience. They are laughing all the way to the bank. If I am permitted to say so, the problem is you! You are the business problem to your own business. Believe it or not, from what I have read in your writing, you are acting in a consultancy role sharing all of your knowledge and expertise with your potential customers before you get a single dime from them. You need to change the way you do business. If you need additional help, please contact me.
In your analysis of the company's needs have you:
- established exactly how critical it is for them to have you help them? Have they told you what negative impact it will have on them if they don't get you to fix their problem?
- actually asked them what do I need to do to win your business?
It may be that you are going to the solution stage of your selling process too early in the relationship.
It sounds like you are getting the road block getting your terms approved which is then stalling the briefing process. From my experience (in Australia) Advertising and Marketing companies are very price sensitive, also if they are part of large multi-national agency networks they will often feel that it is a 'privilege' to work with them thus driving the price down even further.
I think you need to be up front and ask what the issues are because 'I have to think' is just a polite way of saying no without saying no. There is a problem with the terms or they just dont like you. Good luck
Have you considered the problem to be the sector you are trying to sell?
The advertising and marketing sector is one of the most difficult sectors to do business. It is filled with folks whom are unscrupulous.
Alexey, what are you doing before negotiating. It's difficult for me to answer your question without getting more information. Please, tell me about your process. Give me the steps and hopefully I could help.
You have a solution looking for a problem. Find a problem, a SPECIFIC problem and go solve it. If that same company representative was in dire need of a specialist that you had available, you would be in charge of that conversation, not the client. You are trying to sell to your client, you need to let your client buy from you. Have something compelling to offer that differentiates you. A contract or 'blanket' for staffing is of no value if they already have 5 of them and non of you understand the business. Be different and solve a problem for them and they'll chase you!
I'm inferring that, though you refer to yourself as a "professional headhunter," you're relatively new to the field, right?
Easy problem to solve-
You have not identified and eliminated all possible objections prior to attempting your close.
If you had, you would not be encountering, as you put it, "Then the client says: "I have to think" and disappears OR we can't approve a contract (client begins to impose its conditions of work).
More probing and use of open ended questions such as "Looks like we've covered everything but just to be sure, Mr. Prospect, are there any other issues that would prevent you from accepting an offer from company A?"
The next words from the prospects mouth will tell you what you need to do next - resolve that issue or close the sale.
Hi Alexey, hope I can be of some assistance here. From reading your question, I don't see any reference to the conversation you are having with the customer. Are you simply telling then what you can do for them or are you showing them how you can add value. You want to engage the customer in a conversation about their current recruitment challenges, what is the cost of time and money due to these challenges and how it is effecting them and their business. Once you have helped them recognizer their challenges you can start showing them how your solution can help. Hope this helps, feel free to get in touch if I can be of any further assistance.
It is always great to do a self-evaluation first to see if the problem is you....your demeanor, personality, appearance and a whole host of pertinent areas. Are you telling or selling?...both concepts are wrong. Are the types of clients that you are pursuing worth pursuing in terms of the degree of compatibility your offer of service and support? I challenge you to consider these things!
Make followup calls and if you have to renogotiate, then renegotiate your rates. Find out if they have had other heanhunters they are working with, there might be a competetive package you can offer them. Maybe get other leads from them, if they know someone else looking for a headhunter. Don't give up. Good luck.
Dovetailing on prior responses:
1. You don't have a client until they sign the contract. They are a prospect, lead, whatever.
2. are you meeting with the decision maker or surrogates?
3. When you meet who does most of the talking? Based on synopsis I would guess it is you. If you are talking more than 50% of the time then there is a problem. Ask questions: when they ask a question answer it then follow that answer with a question.
4. Assuming your inquiries define the problem. Replay or mirror the problem and requirements to solve the problem. Have them agree with your scope of work...adjust accordingly. Then pre-close, Qualify if we come back with a solution to the problem at an acceptable and at a competitive price will you be prepared to commit. If no, ask them what is required to reach agreement...2nd meeting, presentation to board, etc. Take control of the road map and understand their expectations. If you don't you end up lost and with unfulfilled expectations. I suggest it is a communication problem on your side...that is the only thing you control.
You have to create FOMO or fear of missing out. Creating a sense of urgency to close the deal. Try and bring your sales cycle down as quickly as possible. Remove any obstacles to closing the deal.
A good model is known as BANT. Budget, authority, need, and timeline. If anyone of these factors is missing, its likely that the deal will not go through.
Remember, not ever call results in a closed call. Make sure you get to know your prospective client. If a call does not close, call back and ask what prevented them from signing up.
HI Alexey, sounds like you do great at prospecting but may need to look at your consultative approach. I do not know your approach and I will not assume I'll just relate the areas where I see individuals disconnect them selves from there prospects.
Sales is a profession of relationships not clinical rates, charts and bullet pointed benefits,its truly being interested in helping there business, and truly wanting to be of service. Most sales people go in with a pitch book and/or are waiting for the moment they can just express how their service or product will benefit the customer (customers do not care about your business, how can you help them). Honestly you do not know if your product or service can do that until you find out about how there company works and what does your prospect sitting directly in front of you need.
Don't worry about making the sale, go into your prospect and listen, do not automatically answer their issue keep asking and developing the situation they are dealing with, if you develop the situations they have appropriately and apply your solutions in the appropriate manner your customer will close themselves, actually it will just be agreement that they need you. Then when you get to the end you can simply ask "whats the next step" that will lead you to your prospects process to bring you on as a new vendor or if there is maybe more objections, constraints to their ability to make a decision, people they need to speak with, etc.. You can continue asking whats the next step through out the process that will help direct you to uncover many things.