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Rocket GTM 🚀 - Hypothetically... What would you do?
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Estimated read time: 3-5 minutes
Hypothetical Scenarios: A Secret Weapon
Why do estate agents "stage" houses?
Because it enables buyers to visualize themselves living there. Houses that are staged tend to sell quicker and for more money.
So what's the lesson?
Sales is not describing your product in a one way conversation.
Sales is about taking your prospect on a journey of visualizing transformation.
Just like buying a house, prospects that can visualize a better future are more likely to buy your product.
Hypothetical scenarios are your secret weapon to using visualization in sales.
I wrote about my favorite sales question previously, and it's a powerful example of a hypothetical scenario.
“Now that you’ve seen the platform… how would you describe Spendesk to someone who’s never seen it before?”
But hypothetical questions can be used in multiple other ways.
Take this example:
Prospect: "Your product is too expensive"
Salesperson: "I understand. Our product isn't suitable for everyone. Can I ask, if you were to go with 'X competitor' and pay half the price today, but were to find out six months later that you aren't able to get the correct data into your CRM, what impact would that have on your business?
Prospect:" Well, I'd probably have to rip it out and get something else."
Proposing a hypothetical scenario allows the customer to convince themselves of your desired outcome. It helps shape the narrative and bring things to their attention.
Note, if you were to just say "you will have to rip it out in six months and buy us anyway" it wouldn't work because you are telling them the answer. Hypothetical questions work because the customer arrives at your answer by themselves.
Key Decision Makers (KDM)
Finding the KDM
Finding out who the key decision maker and getting them on the demo has always been one of the hardest parts of sales.
Hypothetical scenarios have been a god send in my career for overcoming this challenge.
Firstly, when your boss says to you "make sure you find out who the key decision maker is" that does not mean you should ask your prospect this:
"Hey Jenny, are you the key decision maker?"
The question you want the answer to, and the question you must ask to get it are two very different things.
Read that sentence again ☝️
Instead, you're better off proposing a hypothetical scenario like this:
Salesperson: "So let's say on our next call we give you a demo of Spendesk and you love it. The pricing is in line with your expectations and you're good to go. What would have to happen in between that moment and you becoming a customer of Spendesk?
Your prospect will then lay out their entire decision making process and reveal to you their key decision makers.
Prospect: "Well, I'd discuss with my team right after the demo and if we're in alignment I'd get sign off from the Director of Finance. Once he's signed off we'll need to run a pilot with I.T and ensure legal are okay."
If they were the key decision maker they'd probably just say "well I'd sign up there and then" but 9 times out of 10 they'll need to run it by someone else.
Finding out the decision making process early on helps you get the right people on the deal early. Significantly lowering the risk of losing it.
This type of question is sometimes known as a "pre-close".
And it's very helpful in establishing a mutual process towards getting the deal closed.
Convincing your champion to bring in the KDM
Finding out who the KDM is is relatively easy. But getting them to participate in the sales process is another challenge altogether.
Most of the time people struggle because their prospect see's bringing their boss in too early as the higher risk option.
They'd much prefer to hold their cards close to their chest, extract as much information as possible from you, and get their boss to make a decision in isolation.
Unless challenged, this is what your prospect thinks as the path of least resistance.
It's your job to convince them that this is not the best way to buy software.
Like I said earlier, the rookie thing to say would be:
Salesperson: "You know the best way to see if we're a good fit is to bring your boss on the call so he can see for himself."
Yeah... good luck with that!
Instead, you could use another hypothetical scenario.
Salesperson: "Most people don't want to bring their leadership team onto a demo call. They often think it's too early to bring them onboard and that they're probably not interested in the details. After all, what happens if it's not a good fit and you waste their time right? Well, let's say we have this demo call tomorrow and you love what you see. You then go back to your leadership team and they have a bunch of product specific questions for you. How will you answer them?
Prospect: "I guess, I'll have to get in touch with you again and ask you."
Salesperson: "Exactly, and this would delay the buying process. Now what would happen if your leadership team didn't have all the necessary information to make a good decision and ended up buying a product they weren't happy with, only to have to rip it out six months later?"
Prospect: "Well, they wouldn't be very happy."
Salesperson: "Okay, if we brought your leadership team on the demo tomorrow that'd take about 20 minutes of their time upfront. We could save at least two weeks of back and forth and avoid risking them not having all the information they need to make the right decision. Given the chance, do you think they'd prefer to spend the 20 minutes up front and avoid the risk of buying the wrong software?"
Prospect: "For sure, I'll get them on the call. Thanks."
Wrapping it up 🌯
So there you have it, one of my favorite sales techniques.
They are powerful and incredibly helpful in negotiations as a non-aggressive way to bring someone around to your point of view.
Your prospect's will feel in control, which is crucial to a smooth process.
As the old wisdom goes, if you want someone to do something you've got to get them to want to do it first.
How could you incorporate hypothetical scenarios in your sales process?