Whether you sell B2B or B2C, you need to triage your prospects.
In banking, the saying goes that if you borrow $100,000, you are a customer; if you borrow $1 million, you’re a partner.
Your business presumably has a bunch of customers, and a few partners.
The partners are the big fish.
They might offer you significant sales volumes or buy high-ticket services. You know the ones.
Once these customers become known to you, you and your team likely treat them as a partner.
But how do you ensure these prospects are treated like partners from the very first interaction with your business?
Do you have a method to triage your prospects and ensure that they are identified and managed as partners from the very beginning?
If you don’t, you have three problems.
- Your employees are spending too much of their time on customers, ignoring partners.
- You’re likely losing some potential partners who expect better treatment from the outset.
- The effectiveness of your marketing to attract partners versus customers (which is the goal, after all) is completely unknown to you.
You might be thinking, “But Shawn, I know who the big players are in our industry.”
If you’re fortunate enough to work in a small industry and have this information, great! But it’s not you that needs this information. It’s your employees.
Does your sales team know how to differentiate customers from partners?
Have you provided them with a way to triage prospects to avoid wasting their time, and that of the customer?
Does your customer service team recognize the different level of service required when dealing with a partner versus a customer?
In my experience, most sales professionals approach their role in a linear fashion. They move through a series of steps:
- Find a new customer.
- Arrange an introductory meeting.
- Introduce product(s) or service(s).
- Ask for the sale.
- Deal with objections, etc.
Instead, what you need is for them to approach each prospect with a global view, triaging their effort and energy against the potential the prospect offers. Here’s the difference:
- Finding new customers becomes defining and searching for ideal customers.
- Arranging meetings becomes determining how much time to invest in the meeting (and preparation).
- Introducing product(s) or service(s) is pre-empted by more specific questions leading to a better presentation.
- Asking for the sale begins by first determining the potential size of the current and future sale.
You get the picture.
We need to equip our employees with a means to triage and prioritize how they approach prospects and customers.
It saves them time, saves you money, and most importantly, focuses them on investing the most time and energy with the customers that offer the greatest opportunity.
This Week’s Exercise
- Define your ideal partner. How would an employee recognize them?
- What are the steps to triage new leads for your business?
- What different questions should your sales team be asking to differentiate a customer from a partner?
Hit reply and I can walk you through this exercise. No obligation, but if you don’t get this right, it will confuse your employees when you introduce it.
© Shawn Casemore 2021. All Rights Reserved.