An “ideal buyer” in 15 minutes

Rick McPartlin

Forecasting, finding qualified leads, long sales cycles, to many “no decisions” and lost deals make CEO’s crazy.

We have written about Revenue Strategies, True North, Ideal buyers and the willingness to say “NO” before.

These are the fundamentals to “An Ideal Buyer in 15 minutes” and with these as a foundation, this is how we would coach you to execute – this is what you do:

Your only target is an Economic Buyer (EB) for your offer who:
1. You believe this is the customer who has the problem you uniquely solve
2. Is in the niche you dominate or are in the process of dominating
3. Fits the “Ideal Buyer” definition from your Revenue Strategy

You are committed to these outcomes from every call:
1. Setting the expectations (up front contract) with the buyer for a win/win relationship
2. Confirming the buyer has the problem you uniquely solve
3. Confirming the buyer is compelled to solve this problem
4. Confirm the buyer is compelled to solve this problem now (you have to have your definition of now based on time)
5. Getting the buyers commitment (think breakfast story) to INVEST resources with you to explore how you and the buyer together solve both parts (business and execution) of the buyer’s problem
6. Launching a Joint SOW process that will lead to a contract

The “Ideal Buyer” conversation to get these outcomes will look something like this:

Greeting based on reference or LinkedIn or researched cold call:
“Hi buyer! Thanks for the time today. From what (referral source or LinkedIn profile or research) said you are doing some very interesting things. My goal for today is to take 10 minutes to learn more about what you are working on and see if what we do matches up.”

“If we both decide there is a match and we want to explore further we will lay out plans to make that happen.”

“Does that work for you?”

Next determine if the EB has the problem you solve!
“Maybe the place to start is to share with you what the market has taught us.” (Slight pause) “The market has taught us that there are a group of companies that have to deal with (the problem you uniquely solve) and that solving that problem is important.”

“Are you working on this?”

They will say YES or NO.

If YES, go forward to learn if this challenge is compelling.

If NO, get clarification that you are both talking about the same thing and if you are, thank them for their time and see if they know someone who does have that problem.

Next it is critical to determine if the problem is truly compelling for the EB?
“Thanks for sharing that. It sounds like you have thought about this. Given all the things on your plate how important is this to you?”

Let them tell you and listen for the emotion and respond to the words and the emotion.

Next your required outcome is clarification of the EB’s commitment to solve this problem.
“It sounds like this (pick one: is or isn’t) a big deal for you.”

Listen to them for clarification regarding their emotional commitment to solving this problem and ask any additional questions to anchor their commitment to removing the pain or to confirm they will not make this a priority in the near term.

If it is a BIG DEAL you go forward. If this is not a BIG DEAL thank them for their time, let them know you will keep in touch and see if they know someone who does have that problem and is compelled to solve it now.

Next if this is a big deal your required outcome is to determine the timeframe to solve this.
“It sounds like this is a BIG DEAL for you and your team?” (Wait for confirmation) “If it is a BIG DEAL how big a hurry are you in to get this solved?”

Get clarification from them both in their timeframe and commitment to the solution (you will hear the commitment in their emotion).

Your next required outcome is to determine if this is a qualified lead that deserves additional investment on your part or a suspect who may give you a referral and needs to be nurtured until they become ready to solve the problem.
“It sounds like you are ready to tackle this. Do I have that right?” (Wait for confirmation).

“Over the last 15 years of doing this the market has taught us that no matter how good we are at helping companies with this that the key is to work as a partner with leaders like you and your team to address both the business outcomes and the execution details.”

“The market has helped us develop a joint process that assures both of us that we will be on the same page in arriving at a successful outcome. You will get the outcomes you need and we will deliver you not only a solution but a platform to keep improving your business.”

“This joint process requires an investment of time on both of our parts but the outcome is both powerful and highly leveraged.”

“That process takes (fill in the time) and requires you to set the business outcomes so our team and yours are working to the same end.”

“Once you have set the business outcomes my team with work with your team to be sure you get the business outcome you need which includes a great deliverable and a leveraged financial return.”

“If this is not a fit you will know that as well.”

“Based on what you have told me my recommendation is you and I lay out the steps and the dates to execute that process.”

Last get their commitment to the joint SOW. Determine the length of the joint SOW process, select the start date, select and set the end date when you will give them the results and share the key gates in between with agreement on who from the buyer team is supporting the process.

When the joint SOW process is committed to you, you have a “qualified lead” and if not, ask for referrals and nurture this account for the future.

Your 15 minutes are up. You have an “ideal buyer” a “NO” or a referral and any one of these moves you forward!

What do you think?

Please share your thoughts and experiences with us here!

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