Step 1 of 4 Steps to Get to Your Favorite Answer in Sales – The NEADS Analysis

So enough about "No" already; it's time we take a look at the 4 steps you can follow to get you to "Yes" with those prospects who you've effectively qualified as good candidates for partnership. If you've effectively avoided any treacherous "Maybe"s along the way, your shot at getting a "Yes" is starting from a much higher place already; now comes the fun part!

Any attempt at getting to "Yes" with your prospects should start with a complete NEADS analysis (yes, I know: it's spelled wrong again...I'm getting there). NEADS is an acronym I borrowed (and modified slightly; sorry Tom) from sales trainer extraordinaire Tom Hopkins. Hopkins talks about the sales process as a series of questions leading to a logical conclusion, the proverbial "close" (or, as I like to think of it, conversion). This article will discuss the first three letters of the acronym: N, E and A.

The N stands for Now, as in "How are you dealing with [insert specific challenge uncovered during discovery] now?" The point of this question is to set a baseline for the rest of the discussion, the foundation on which your presentation will be built. If you don't know where you're starting from, you'll never know when you've arrived at your destination, or if you even needed to leave in the first place.

Finding out how the prospect is currently handling the problem you'd like to help them solve will also help you establish the thought process behind how they make decisions. In fact, you might ask something like "Out of curiosity, how did you come to the decision to use that solution?" This information will be critical later on, when building your solution.

In the meantime, you should be aware that sometimes the answer to the Now question is... nothing. Sometimes, you will be the first at bat, the first one to take a stab at curing the prospect's pain. Of course, other times you'll be up against a deeply entrenched incumbent. Both situations have their particular challenges, so you have to know up front what you're dealing with. Thus the importance of the Now question.

The E stands for Enjoy, as in what does the prospect enjoy, like or even love about their current solution? Sometimes we get so excited about sharing our solution, we don't take the time to find out whether the prospect really wants a radical change. That may be what we think is best, but we're not the one in the decision-making seat. Find out what the prospect enjoys (and why!), and plan to give them more of the same.

This is pretty basic when you think about it: if a prospect really digs certain aspects of the solution they have now, who are you to rock the boat? Wouldn't it be better to find a way to integrate those aspects into your offering, maybe even improving upon or enhancing them in some way? Remember: human beings aren't always fond of major change, and past buying habits will have a significant impact on future buying decisions. You'll get your chance to be creative in the next bit.

The A stands for Alter. In other words, what would the prospect, if they had the chance, like to change about their current solution? Would they like it in a different color? Perhaps a sleeker design? Maybe friendlier customer service reps? Listen to everything they have to say, and take copious notes...this will be the core of the solution you'll eventually present!

What happens, though, if you ask the A question and your prospect says "Nothing; we like it just the way it is"? At that point, you may have to do a little coaxing to tease an answewr out of them. One of the best ways I've seen to do that is the Wedge Technique presented by Randy Schwantz in his book "How To Get Your Competition Fired Without Saying Anything Bad About Them". In it, Schwantz tells salespeople to come up with something they do better than their competitors, then use that difference to create a question that will drive the thin edge of a wedge between your prospect and their current vendor.

You might ask something like "So when your current vendor does monthly audits of your network security, how do they present their findings to you?", knowing full well that their current provider doesn't do monthly audits of their network security. Suddenly, the prospect has discovered that there's something they'd like to alter about their current solution after all!

These three question will form the basis for the solution your going to create for the prospect, but you're not quite there yet. First, you need to understand the D in NEADS: how your customer makes decisions. That will be the topic of the next article. Cheers 'til then!

SOUL

Source by Jerry Kennedy

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