Wednesday, January 12, 2011
What trains are in your prospect's station?
Your prospect didn’t wake up thinking about you. You didn’t keep them up at night. They aren’t sitting at their desk right now worrying about you.
Instead, they’re thinking about their objectives. Their problems. The numbers they need to hit at the end of the month, quarter or year. More specifically, they’re trying to execute on a plan to achieve those results and they spend a lot of time trying to make that plan work.
What keeps them up at night are the obstacles to achieving that success. The roadblocks that keep their chosen strategies from working. That’s what they’re thinking about right now.
Think of these priorities as trains in your prospect’s station. Your prospects spend their day making sure those trains get out on time. They are only thinking about those trains. If you don’t offer something that fits on one of those trains, or helps get them out on time, then your prospect doesn’t have time to listen to you.
Many salespeople focus on their product without understanding the prospect’s priorities. What you sell may be very interesting, and the prospect may think it’s interesting as well. But if it’s not related to the trains in the station right now, they’re not going to buy.
There are lots of things we think are cool, but that sit on our back burner indefinitely. Lots of products and services that we think could help us, but that are much farther down our priority list.
Your prospect has no more than 2-4 trains in their station. They may have many more things on their plate, but those 2-4 trains are the only trains that they’re willing to spend time and energy on in the near-term.
This is the difference between qualified and ready-to-buy, and qualified but not-yet-ready-to-buy. Your ideal train might come later. Just make sure you aren’t wasting your time on a prospect that isn’t going to buy.
I share this analogy all the time but hadn’t yet written about it. In fairness, I heard this analogy from someone else years ago but I can’t remember who that was (if it was you, please let me know and I’ll give you full credit here).
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