Too many balls - no sale!

There is a brilliant softplay venue near my parents’ house that my 5-year-old son loves going to. The main reason for his uncontrollable excitement is that they have a set of giant air cannons that fire foam balls and he enjoys nothing more than standing Daddy or Grandpa in front of them and pelting us until he is laughing so hard he forgets to breath.

As the human target it can be quite fun to try and catch the balls and pelt them back at our miniature assailant but, try as I might, catching more than one at a time is nigh on impossible.

This follows the age old adage that if I threw you a ball you’d probably catch it but if I threw you five at once you wouldn’t catch any.

And a lot of the time this is the same for B2B buyers. Now, let me just preface this by saying that this is not the case for every product or service and every buyer, but if I had £1 for every time a sales rep had come back from a meeting and told me that the prospect was going to buy five different products or services and spend kerjillions but in the end spends nothing, I would probably be writing this from my own private island!

So why does this happen?

Perhaps the sales rep hasn’t got to the heart of the prospect’s problem and created a solution that not only solves the issue, but focuses the prospect on one product or service to get signed off.

Maybe it’s because it’s rare to find a buyer that will meet a potential new supplier and risk spending on multiple products and services straight off the bat. In the same way retailers will always trial new products in a small number of stores before rolling out across their whole network.

Or it could be that you just have so many cool products or services that the prospect gets over excited, wants them all, but can’t find the budget so ends up not buying any of it.

As sales people we all want the ‘MEGA deals’ – the ones that will make us superstars, but how often do these come from a first time spend with a new client? The ‘MEGA deals’ more often than not come from the client that has bought something singular, gains confidence in the supplier and then spends big.

The point is that a new prospect is more likely to convert if they are buying one solution to one problem rather than trying to buy five solutions to five issues at once.

So the next time you go to see a brand new prospect consider playing the longer game. Get in the door with a single product or service sale, over deliver on expectation, and then go for the bigger deals…..

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