3 Types of Sales Environments – Part 3

There are 3 selling environments — that’s it.

  1. The prospect knows they have a problem and knows what they need to solve it.
  2. The prospect knows they have a problem but doesn’t know how to solve it.
  3. The prospect doesn’t know they have a problem and therefore they don’t know anything needs to be solved

I already talked about the first two.  If you haven’t already check them out.

The 3rd selling environment is my favorite.  It’s the environment that separates the great and phenomenal sales people from the good and average.   When a prospect doesn’t know they have a problem it’s business as usual.  When a prospect doesn’t know they have a problem nothing is being bought, nothing is changing.  Sales needs change to be successful.

To sell in an environment where a prospect doesn’t know they have a problem requires sales to create, find, or uncover opportunities that didn’t exist. Selling in this environment is like selling to the invisible.   Sales has to CREATE DEMAND, they have to create something that currently doesn’t exist.

When a customer or prospect doesn’t know they have a problem, they aren’t in a “buying” mode.   In many cases they aren’t receptive to the sale. Everything in their world is hunky-dory.  When a customer thinks everything is hunky-dory, getting their attention takes tremendous effort.

To sell in an environment where the customer or prospect doesn’t know they have a problem requires a deep knowledge and understanding of the customers business, industry and market.   They must have a strong grasp of how the customer is measured, their processess, and environment.  In addition to knowledge, to sell in this environment sales people must be able to probe.   It is critical to be able to ask question that gets the prospect to think, to look at things differently and to share information they don’t traditionally share.   Selling in this environment takes vision.   It takes the ability to see things others don’t.  Seeing between the lines, and in the cracks is key.

In this environment sales is selling alone.   They aren’t getting support from the customer, because the customer doesn’t know they need anything. The sales person is a lone sales wolf, (they may have an internal pursuit team, but there is no customer support).   It’s like being the CEO of a start-up, an entrepreneur.  The sales person is leveraging new, creative, unseen, ideas, solutions and products to get the customers attention and show them that YES they do have a problem and it needs to be fixed now.   The best even get the customer to say; “Wow, you saved me.  Thanks!”

Learning to sell in this environment is key.  It not only grows your skills but it grows your pipeline.  As other sales pipelines are filled with opportunities prospects and customers know about, those who create demand fill it with opportunities customers and prospects both knew AND didn’t know about.

Not many people are good at selling in this environment.   But those who become good at it, are true rain makers.

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Keenan