Perhaps the most significant ongoing challenge for producers is keeping their pipeline filled with the right number of the right opportunities. A close second is to keep moving those opportunities through the pipeline to close.
The combination of challenges with the pipeline and buyers’ reluctance to make a change is potentially deadly for producers who need to continue selling new business. It’s time to take an approach that removes as many of the obstacles as possible: the challenges that exist from prospecting all the way through to delivering the client experience. It’s time to embrace the idea of “land and expand.”
The concept is as simple as it gets: Recognize that the big decisions you ask your clients to make are made up of several smaller ones. Instead of putting your buyer in the position of having to make one big, overwhelming decision, give them a series that is less threatening and easier to make but still leads to the same result. It helps turn an anxiety-filled process into one that is much more accessible and less stressful for the buyer.
Start by “landing” in a place that feels safe for the buyer and then focus on the next area to expand the conversation or relationship. Once there, look for the next.
Not only is it a simple approach, it allows salespeople the time and space to earn the trust and confidence of the buyer by showing respect for this difficult task.
A prospect in motion stays in motion
Let’s say you get a prospect’s attention based on a known problem they have; maybe compliance. You land on this issue as a starting point for a conversation. Instead of going for broke by offering a compliance solution and expecting the prospect to give you a broker-of-record letter, expand the conversation to the next logical landing point.
During the compliance conversation, let them know this is only one of many ways in which you help clients. Before you have given away the compliance solution, ask for an opportunity to share the other problems you can solve.
As you educate them on the importance of addressing these additional areas, expand the conversation to the next phase of determining whether or not they are unknowingly suffering from any other problems. Make the next landing point a conversation where you analyze their situation in detail, providing clarity as to which areas are working well for them and which aren’t.
With a new awareness of their broader challenges, expand the conversation again by offering to build a plan of improvement detailing how you would propose addressing their problems and building them a path to improved results.
Now is the time to expand the conversation to one of a working relationship. At this point, you have finally earned the opportunity to ask for their business. “We have identified several areas where you need better results. If you agree we provide a clear path to better results, is it reasonable to assume we will start working together to put our plan in place?”
It takes a process
Land and expand is nothing more than following a well-thought-out, buyer- focused sales process. You can’t land and expand if you’re simply winging it.
As important as it is for salespeople to have a sales process to follow, it is way more important to have a buying process for the buyers to follow.