If you are losing deals to inaction more often then losing them to your competitors, chances are, your prospects haven't bought into the consequences of inaction. Most people don't like change, so when we are forced to change the way do things we tend to take the path of least resistance.
So what differentiates a prospect who needs the solution you offer versus one who will take the path of least resistance? Typically, it comes down to motivating factors for change, or as I like to refer to it as, "The Bucket System." The Bucket System categorizes your prospect into different groups based on what is motivating them to change. For a moment, let's pretend we're all selling personal training services (shameless plug alert: I do some work with two amazing personal trainers in the Toronto area Stride Into Fitness and In Goode Health). Why would someone want to hire a personal trainer? Well, some reasons might include:
Recovering from a heart attack
High blood pressure
I guess I can’t eat whatever I want anymore
My kid wants me to run the Terry Fox run with him
I want to compete in a Mud Run
I have back pain
I just feel “blah."
I have depression
I have hit a plateau in what I can do myself
I want to play hockey with my kids
I don’t feel good about the way I look
I’m newly single and looking to get lucky!
I run out of breath climbing the stairs
My toddler can outrun me
I need motivation
I don’t know how to get in shape on my own
The list could keep going and going, but when we look closely at it, these reasons fall into one of four categories:
I want to get stronger
I want to feel more confident
I want to do it for my family
I want to do it for my health
Now our fictitious personal training business has identified their motivating buckets. For anyone who has been through sales and marketing 101, this is obvious; this is a practice that becomes a part of our prospecting tactics. However, here's what tends to get overlooked, how many buckets do prospects need to be in before they buy your service?
Let's go back to our training business. If I want to feel more confident, couldn't I just read a self-help book or find a mentor? Wouldn't those be easier and cheaper than waking up early every day to workout with someone? What if I wanted to lose weight to improve my health, couldn't I go on a diet? Go to the gym on my own? Both options would be easier and cheaper than a trainer.
However, what if I had to lose weight before a surgery scheduled in four months (health), I feel lost trying to figure out what to do at the gym (confidence), and just the other day I lost my 3-year-old at the mall because he ran away and I couldn't catch him (family). Now all of a sudden things are looking better for the personal trainer.
If you want to stop losing deals to inaction, then you need to know what your buckets are and how many a prospect needs to be in before they are ready to buy from you. Once you can define your buckets, everything you do should focus on helping leads identify with as many buckets as possible. This includes how your website is laid out, the whitepapers and infographics you produce, the blogs you write and how your salespeople interact with prospects. Once all of that is in place, you should be able to quickly determine which leads are close to buying and which ones you should leave in the nurture bin.