“I’ll give you a call next week,” are words that salespeople love to hear until they learn to dread them.
In the early days of a sales career, we hang up after a great conversation and can’t wait for the phone to ring after the prospect reviews our offer. Then we wait and wait some more.
That’s when we learn to dread hearing those words.
Whether we love or hate it when a prospect doesn’t return our calls, it’s important to know that it’s due to a single issue: The Spotlight Effect.
This effect is the focus that each of us tends to keep on ourselves, and the way we inflate how much we think everyone else’s focus is on us as well.
To help us understand the spotlight effect and how to leverage it away from ourselves as salespeople and put it where it belongs – on prospects – we sat down with Chris Dawson and learned a great sales system he advises his clients use when learning to turn their attention towards the folks they’re selling to.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: To trigger a system that allows you to leverage the spotlight effect in your favor regardless of where you are in the sales cycle, Chris recommends beginning before you are in touch with your prospects.
He says to trigger your system by ensuring you’re not pointing the spotlight on you as a salesperson. That means looking at all your scripts and email templates and ensuring you’re not talking about ‘I’, ‘we’ or ‘me’. Instead, ensure everything is about the folks who benefit from what you sell.
Another trigger is to put your ego aside before reaching out next. Everything is on us as salespeople, but the paradox is the sale has nothing to do with you – it’s all about the prospect.
R – Repeatable: To ensure that you’re making this repeatable regardless of where you are in the sales cycle, Chris says to ensure that there is a time, date, agenda and promised actions in your account notes for every future conversation. This way, we ensure we maintain the focus on the prospect by claiming a place in their calendar and in their to-do list.
Another step is to create fields in client profiles that remind you to ask about the things you need to know to serve this prospect. It’s important to not turn those items into an interrogation. Instead, ensure that you can provide value and solutions with every item on your client profile list. For instance: Asking who makes the decision around buying what you sell can be followed up by the top three things those folks usually have to consider before making a buying decision.
I – Improvable: To improve a system that reminds you to keep your focus on your prospect, Chris says to examine the three areas salespeople should focus on when prospecting: history, present, future and how you can serve them. Look at the way you’re learning their history and see how you can make it more prospect-centric. Look at how you’re investigating their present state and see if there’s a way to keep it better centered on them. Examine how you’re asking about the prospect’s desired future state and see if it’s still aligned with a spotlight on the prospect. Finally, look at how you’re presenting your solution and look for ways to turn the spotlight back to the prospect.
M – Measurable: Chris says it’s important to not just measure sales numbers. Instead, ensure you’re also managing conversations. This means listening to them alongside the marketing team, sales leaders, and other stakeholders to ensure they’re remaining prospect focused. This will reveal challenges prospects have that other teams may have never realized were a problem!
Another measurement that’s important when shifting the spotlight is length of time within each pipeline vertical. The more you’re focused on your own prospects, the faster they’ll move through your sales stages and the more referrals they’ll tend to deliver.
This will allow you to move from being under your own spotlight to being under your prospect’s.