3 years ago
January 5, 2015

How to Avoid Confusing Your Sales Prospects

When there are potential gaps in technical understanding and similar concerns, you should be focused on how to avoid confusing your sales prospect.

Rhys Metler

It is safe to assume that your sales prospect is at least as busy as you are and trying to fit ever more tasks into his or her schedule. The sheer volume of competing concerns combined with rushed sales presentations may mean that your sales materials are confusing your sales prospect. When potential gaps in technical understanding and similar concerns are added to the mix, it becomes clear that you should be focused on how to avoid confusing your sales prospect.

Speak in Language Your Sales Prospect Understands

As organizations have become more specialized, so has the language that professionals use to describe their work. Unfortunately, this may mean that you are confusing your sales prospect when he or she does not understand terms you are using. It is important to be aware of these potential language barriers because some sales prospects will not be comfortable asking about the meaning of words they do not understand, which creates another barrier between you and the sale. Eliminate this issue by:

  • Scanning your presentation materials for uncommon words or terms, paying particularly close attention to acronyms. Even if you use the same acronym repeatedly in the materials, your sales prospect may not learn or remember it easily.
  • Being aware of technical concepts in your sales materials; never take for granted that a sales prospect will understand a concept at first mention.
  • Giving your sales presentation to someone close to you who can provide honest feedback and who is not in your industry. Ask them to note words and concepts that are unfamiliar or confusing.
  • Always watching your sales prospect carefully for body language cues that indicate confusion, such as frowning, scratching, or wandering attention.

Establish Value for the Sales Prospect Carefully

In the psychology of selling, a sales person cannot simply propose a product or service to fulfill an unmet need; that would be too easy. First you must have conversations with your sales prospect to find the need, and then create value. However, just because you and the sales prospect have agreed that a need exists does not mean that the sales prospect will make any intuitive leaps to infer value. A common way that you might be confusing your sales prospect is by expecting him or her to understand how the value you are creating fits a given situation. Help your sales prospect understand where the value fits by:

  • Being as specific as possible in how your value points fit the sales prospect’s needs, not just needs in general. For example, simply talking about reduced cost of ownership could be confusing your sales prospect; be sure to describe exactly where the reduced costs occur.
  • Ensuring that your sales presentation or sales conversation is well-ordered so that the value and needs addressed are connected in your sales prospect’s mind.
  • Asking your sales prospect to put the value derived in his or her own words, so you can gently adjust or add to the prospect’s understanding of the value created by your offering.

Make Sure the Sales Prospect Understands What You Want

Relationship based selling works with most sales prospects, but if you are not careful to be clear on your reasons for forming those relationships, you may be confusing your sales prospects. This is especially true when contacting a sales prospect at the executive level who may have responsibility for sales inside of his or her own organization; if the reason for your contact isn’t clear he or she might think that you are looking to make a career move, not a sale.

Along these lines, if you are using LinkedIn to generate new business, make sure that your profile is not confusing your sales prospect when he or she checks your page. Base your profile on your current sales activities and sales goals in a more conversational tone than you might use for a potential employer to make your purpose – selling – clear. 

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.