What Does a Yellow Light Mean?
by Tim Healy
If you drive in New York, it means hitting the gas so you can make the light. According to Driverincontrol.org it means to stop if you can do so safely. I must confess, being from New York, I would tend more toward the opportunistic gunning it to make the light. What can I say? There’s lots of traffic on Long Island.
Now let’s apply the yellow light to sales. Hopefully I haven’t lost you yet. Stick with me; this is important.
In the world of sales, a yellow traffic light can be a great reminder for you to SLOW DOWN to help you stay in control of your sales call. How so?
Too many salespeople have the bad habit of hitting the gas once a prospect describes a situation that the salesperson knows they can help. This is when excitement and visions of commissions cloud the salesperson’s vision.
What does it look like? Let’s say a prospect is dealing with an outdated software platform for order entry and you are a salesperson who sells the World’s Latest and Greatest order entry software.
A typical salesperson will ask a new prospect what are they using now, how long have they used it, what version it is, and how they like it.
Then, the knowledgeable salesperson knows right away that it is an outdated software platform and can probably guess what the inefficiencies are and how it is negatively impacting the prospect.
SLOW DOWN: THIS IS EXACTLY THE MOMENT YOU CAN LOSE CONTROL OVER YOUR SALES CALL.
The natural tendency for many sales professionals is to excitedly jump into talking products and solutions. While the salesperson can tell them how great their software is and how it will solve all their problems, they have stepped right over a great opportunity.
It is the opportunity for the prospect to tell you how the outdated order entry platform is impacting them. It is their opinion that matters. not yours. The more you find out how frustrated they are with the old system, the easier it will be to Position the Solution.
Let them tell you that the order entry system frustrates their sales team, creates delays in shipping, can’t integrate with multiple locations…! While you may have correctly guessed all of their frustrations, the value is when they tell you.
But you can’t connect with the prospect if you are rushing to offer a solution on the way to cashing a commission check. The skill is knowing when to slow down and be patient. The moment you want to blurt out how great your product is, is exactly the moment you need to SLOW DOWN and get them talking.
The more they tell you the more you understand their world. Not only does it allow you to better qualify the prospect, but it allows you to connect with them in a more meaningful way. The prospect will get the sense that you are genuinely engaged in their problem. Victory!
So please, follow the yellow light. SLOW DOWN, take a deep breath, and smell the selling flowers.