For about 20 years, I was just this lucky sales guy. I had this unbelievable knack of just showing up at exactly the right place at exactly the right time, and it just happened again, and again, and again. And then one day it stopped, because the company I was working for admitted conducting $11 billion in accounting fraud, and I was the number one sales person in the country when this happened. My credibility had been crushed. I realized I needed to look back on the deals that I’ve won, to see what made me good, great or just unstoppable.
Upon reflecting back, I realized that no matter what I’m selling, prospects are always in one of three different buying modes, and it’s important to understand all three.
Buying Mode 1: Status Quo
In this mode, the prospect is happy with what they have, and they see no reason to change. The odds they become your customer in the short term is pretty much zero.
Buying Mode 2: Actively Engaged
I would get lucky and be contacted by those prospects. They are actively engaged in a process of searching for alternatives. They’re unhappy with what they have, and they’re looking to do something about it.
This is when I had my first big epiphany: Every single six, seven and eight-figure deal had gone to somebody between those two commonly known buying modes.
Buying Mode 3: Window of Dissatisfaction
Here, prospects are unhappy with what they have, and they’re so busy solving other problems, that they haven’t gone to this problem yet. Research says if you wait until someone reaches you, the odds they become your customer is basically 16% or 17%. When you find these prospects in the Window of Dissatisfaction, and if you get there first, you are five times more likely to win the sale.
Not only do you get someone as a customer, but you get the best customers. They’re loyal, they’re profitable, and they give us what we all want: testimonials and word of mouth.
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