How to Win the Sale 74% of the Time

PipelineDeals is excited to have Craig Elias, the creator of Trigger Event Selling™ kick off it’s Accelerate Sales Conference for action oriented sales leaders, on August 19 – 20 in Seattle.

We spoke with Craig Elias about how high powered sales teams are leveraging Trigger Events to win the sale 74% of the time.

Can you tell us more about what you mean when you tell salespeople to be first in?

 Craig Elias, author of Trigger Selling, will share more about the trigger events for future opportunities at Accelerate Sales 2015.
Craig Elias, author of Trigger Selling, will share more about the trigger events for future opportunities at Accelerate Sales 2015.

It does not matter what you sell or who you are selling to, buyers are always in one of three Buying Modes:

1) Status Quo: Status Quo is when a decision maker believes their current product or service meets or exceeds their needs.

2) Searching for Alternatives: Searching for Alternatives is when a buyer realizes their current product or service no longer meets their needs and are actively engaged in the process of searching for alternatives.

3) Window of Dissatisfaction™: A Window of Dissatisfaction exists between Status Quo and Searching for Alternatives – after the buyer realizes that their current product or service no longer meets their needs but before they have started the process of searching for alternatives.

Being first in is all about proactively reaching out to decision makers to be first in with those who recently entered the Window of Dissatisfaction and there is zero competition.

When you’re first in you get to help define the problem, design the solution and develop a relationship when the competition does not even know there is an opportunity yet.

How does being first in with sales connect with today’s customer journey?

The customer journey for B2B buyers has shifted. Many salespeople have not adjusted to the shift in power from the salesperson to the buyer. They act reactively and only spend time with buyers when they’re two-thirds of the way through their customer journey.

When you’re first in, it does not mean you’re attempting to loosen up the status quo of a buyer before their journey has begun. What it does mean is that you’re showing up right after a specific event has triggered them to realize that the status quo is no longer sufficient.

According to Forrester Research, your odds of winning the sale is 74% when you can make this happen. This is five times higher than if you wait until the company starts Searching for Alternatives. Moreover, the customers you do win tend to be more loyal and refer customers because you’re a trusted partner.

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What are the things the best teams do to ensure that they’re first in?

The best sales teams are great at listening and they’re helpful.

What they are listening for is a decision maker who says one of two things:

  1. I’m thinking of doing something about this. Why don’t you call me back in 6 months when I’m ready to do something about it.  

  2. They use verbs to describe the the outcome they want to accomplish NOT nouns to describe the solution or product they want to buy. E.g. I want to be the preffered trucking company or logistics provider vs. I want to buy long lasting tires so I can improve my on-time-delivery ratio and be chosen more often when something is more important or urgent and I can charge more.

Most salespeople get scared off by the above because they believe the sale will take too long or be too much effort. The truth is these decision makers are easier to close, make decisions quicker, and are less likely to grind you down on price.

 Listen for prospects that use verbs to describe the outcome they want to accomplish.
Listen for prospects that use verbs to describe the outcome they want to accomplish.

The mistake that most salespeople make is waiting for 5 or 6 months to get back in touch. This tells your prospect two things: (1) you’re only interested in talking if there is an immediate chance for a sale (2) you’re unavailable to help them solve a problem they’ve acknowledged they have.

Think about the last time someone said this to you and you waited 5 to 6 months to call them back. By the time you called them back they’ve already purchased something from one of your competitors.

The next time this happens say to yourself, “I won’t wait 5 or 6 months to follow-up. I want to get 15-20 minutes with this person as soon as possible.”

What if your sales team is having trouble being first in?

Have you ever noticed that when you buy a new car you see that car all over the road? That’s’ called selective perception.

For all salespeople, there are things that hide in plain sight. Once you know what to look for you start seeing them all over the place.

These things are the Trigger Events that initiate a buyer’s journey. These events push a decision maker from Status Quo into the Window of Dissatisfaction.

At the conference I’ll share what the best Trigger Events are, how to leverage them, and a very simple process to turn on selective perception so every salesperson can start seeing these events everywhere they go.

If a prospect isn’t ready to look at solutions, what should you be doing to ensure you’re first in?

If the person meets the criteria of an ideal prospect, stay in touch on at least a monthly basis to see if any thing has changed to make what you sell more important, more urgent, or more affordable.

For example, if you have a list of just 100 ideal prospects, watch for a change in decision makers. By leveraging all the related job changes of those 100 decision makers over the course of 12 months, you can obtain 250 high value opportunities.

How can a CRM tool like PipelineDeals help?

 Use PipelineDeals Accelerator to test email messages regularly and see what connects. 
Use PipelineDeals Accelerator to test email messages regularly and see what connects. 

I know that PipelineDeals has some email tools that let you create email templates, track engagement, and understand what’s successful. I’d encourage salespeople to use these tools to test their email messages regularly to learn what resonates the most and take advantage of the emails that bounce back.

I would also use it to track which competitors my prospects use and the name of that competitors sales person. Then when I hear that sales person has moved on or moved up, I have a list of companies that are about to become dissatisfied with my competitor and I know who to start spending more time with.

Can you tell us anymore about these events that trigger opportunites?

Sure! If you want to understand the best events that trigger new opportunities, you should come to Accelerate Sales. On day one, I’ll be sharing 45 minutes of my best content about what Trigger Events are most effective and how your sales team can start seeing them everywhere they go. On day two, Matt Heinz and myself will lead a panel discussion where we take questions from the audience and tell them how to take material from day one and make it relevant to their specific situation.


Register for Accelerate Sales before July 1st using the discount code “June” to receive $50 off your registration costs.