In the sales game, many deals are lost at the very beginning because the seller violated a cardinal rule: Don't spill your jelly beans in the lobby. Meaning, don't be so eager to share your expertise for free. Many sales consultants, eager to please and build credibility, fall into the trap of diagnosing a potential buyer's "what if" problems before they really understand the issues involved.
Invariably, this bad start leads to unpaid consulting because your suspect-buyer controls the relationship. Euphemistically, the struggle for control of the relationship is known as the buyer-seller dance.
What happens when the suspect is leading you in the buyer-seller dance? You'll find, after a lot of fancy two-stepping, that your prospect has been picking your brain for free, before moving on to another dance partner.
Don't be misled by vague promises that you are about to land a big contract, "if only you could provide more alternatives." That day will never come. In order for you to close the deal, you must be in control of the relationship from beginning to end.
When you are the lead partner in the buyer-seller dance, your first step is to qualify your prospect/suspect with open-ended questions to determine if you are truly in a position to solve the problem(s) being presented. Please understand it is the answers you get, rather than the features, benefits and products you present, that will determine if the relationship should move forward.
A strong indicator that you are "spilling your jelly beans in the lobby" is when you find yourself on the receiving end of a barrage of questions that forces you to constantly justify, defend and explain your expertise.
You can avoid “jelly bean spillage" by agreeing with your prospect, before the meeting, on what your mutual agenda will be. Give the prospect an idea of what questions you'll be asking, so that the prospect is prepared to give meaningful answers. Also, ask what questions the prospect has of you, so that you won't be caught off-guard. Agree ahead of time that you won't be giving solutions or product recommendations, but at the end of the first meeting, you'll both determine what the next step will be (if any).
Just by doing this simple up-front agreement, you'll establish that you are the lead-partner in the buyer-seller dance, being well paid for the candy you didn't spill in the lobby.
About Our Show Advisor: Dirk Cummins is a practicing financial consultant who attended the University of Virginia at Quantico, Virginia while serving in the United States Marine Corps. He is a CHARTERED FINANCIAL CONSULTANT® (ChFC®), and has completed the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®)certification curriculum. Dirk is also a CERTIFIED DIVORCE FINANCIAL ANALYST™ (CDFA™). Dirk's areas of specialization include business and individual planning. Dirk's professional career began in 1974 in his hometown of Canton, Ohio. In 1978 he accepted a position with Lineberry Financial Group and relocated to Houston. He has held various positions within the financial services industry prior to starting his own firm. Dirk has been involved with numerous volunteer groups and is currently serving as the President of the MainStreetChamber Houston Chapter and State Director for the MainStreetChamber. He has also served on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Finance at Spring Branch ISD and on the Pro Bono Committee for the Financial Planning Association Houston chapter. He has also served as Past President of the Crossroads Chapter of Services Cooperative Association as well as a member of the Board of Directors. He has also served as an Advisory Board member of the Entrepreneurial Development Center and a member of the Board of Directors of Women Achieving Independence & Financial Success. He was a Republican Party Precinct Chair in Harris County, and an Election Judge in Harris County.
Dirk Cummins is the President of MainStreetChamber, LLC
Dirk Cummins is the President of MainStreetChamber. Dirk is an advocate of the MainStreetChamber philosophy of “Give First and Expect Nothing In Return”. Dirk, a serial entrepreneur, reaches out to small businesses every day to help them grow their business by creating revenue where none existed before.
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