Do you ever feel like you're losing control of the conversation during a prospecting call or sales appointment?
You quickly realize you better regain control of the sale, or you're going to lose the deal.
Some prospects engage you with a multitude of questions around product features. Can your software do this? Can it do that? At first, you think "Wow" this customer is really interested! Thirty minutes later you realize...wait a minute, we're nowhere close to getting this deal.
The SBP Technique
Here is a technique you can master to regain control of the conversation. I call it the Statement, Benefit, and Probe (SBP) technique.
- Statement: This is simply your next statement in the course of a conversation, or your response to a question (transition quickly to apply the "benefit" step).
- Benefit: Build on your "Statement" with specific reasons why you're recommending this solution to solve the problem, or share examples of ways this solution has helped other clients (make it quick—two to three sentences—and immediately follow with the "probe").
- Probe: Ask a question and allow the prospect to verbalize his or her own reasons why your product is going to help them achieve their goal. Just like that, you are back in control.
Putting it into Practice
Let's pick a scenario: Say you're working with a client who is interested in new strategies to improve sales prospecting. Their salespeople can't seem to get enough new opportunities into the pipeline.
Your conversation with the prospect is running off track, and it's time to regain control of the appointment. Choose your direction based on your value proposition for this specific client. In this case, you need to build value around demand generation, lead conversion, and building a sales pipeline. The client says, "We need our salespeople to win new business instead of just managing current accounts. How can you help us do that?"
1. Statement"In this case, we'd focus on the first two phases of our customer lifecycle management model. The first is Lead Generation and Conversion, the second is Sales Prospecting and Follow Up."
2. Benefit"The thing our clients appreciate most, is that our strategies don't just benefit one department. We create alignment between Marketing and Sales with consistent brand messaging throughout the sales cycle, and that's the tipping point. Demand generation improves, conversion rates go up, and you start to see more new business in the sales pipeline."
"If we help you develop this type of sales and marketing strategy, how do you see things playing out when we introduce these ideas to your team?"
After this question, stay quiet, listen intently, and respond with either a follow up question or your next Statement, Benefit, and Probe.
This technique might not come easy at first. You've got to be quick on your feet and make sure the client doesn't feel like you are cutting them off. With practice, it becomes instinctive. You'll learn to recognize when it's time to reel the prospect in and take control of the sale.