Great salespeople are always tuned in to when to use the pivot. Over the course of a long sales cycle pursuit things can change. And even in short sales cycle or one-call-close salespeople watch for changes in the buyer. How does the great salesperson know when to pivot? By asking good questions and actively listening.
What Is The Pivot?
So there you are great salesperson, moving through your sales process. During a sales call to move the prospect toward the close, you hear an answer you didn’t expect. That’s when you go back to earlier steps in the sales process. That’s the pivot. When you discover the need to move the sales process in a different direction.
What Could Change?
Well just about anything within the buyer’s control or in the marketplace. Here are a few examples from long sales cycles:
- The buyer said the budget has changed
- The company was sold
- The decision maker moved on
- The market for the customer’s product changed
- A competitor offered a different solution
Even in short sales cycles or one-call-close you may need the pivot. Ever heard these put offs?
- Great! I like it. Now I need to show it to my (boss, partner, spouse).
- I know we agreed on a budget but I really want to spend a little less.
- I think this is exactly what I need. Let me get a couple of other quotes and get back to you.
Great salespeople work hard continually questioning and confirming the customer at all stages of the sales process. Most of the time they move smoothly from pain to purchase order. But they always prepare to use the pivot when the customer’s situation suddenly changes.
Change Can Be Outside The Buyer’s Control
Right now the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the plans of many companies. Entire markets have shut down. Companies have gone out of business. Consumers are staying home. Those salespeople who still have customers with needs to satisfy have been successfully working remotely. But salespeople whose market has died are struggling. Great salespeople understand their present and potential position. Creative ones use the pivot to increase (or at least moderate the loss) of income. They search for and take advantage of opportunities. Sometimes it’s a job change. But some keep on with their “day job” and add a “side hustle”.
A Case Study
Our son-in-law is an accomplished choral conductor and works for a company which arranges large choral events at Carnegie Hall. Now think about all the concern from the pandemic and how that might affect that business. It is a subset of the travel business and we all know where that is right now. But getting 300 voices singing together on a stage in front of a couple thousand patrons in the audience is the worst possible scenario for spreading the virus. So no concerts. Now imagine the effect on his compensation when he is paid based on convincing choirs to join in the concert. Yep, just like any commission-based salesperson when sales go in the tank, the paycheck shrinks.
But our son-in-law is a creative guy. He used the pivot to start his “side hustle.” He is an enthusiastic bicyclist with bike maintenance skills. And he is a great salesperson with good selling skills. He saw an opportunity when more folks were home, old bikes were coming out of the garage and new bikes were in short supply. He merged his maintenance skills and sales skills with his creative drive and became ROADMAESTRO. A bike service which comes to you to assemble new bikes and fix old ones. So while he waits for the pandemic to subside enough for his conducting gigs to resume, our son-in-law supplements his income.
What You Can Do Right Now To Use The Pivot
- Keep in close touch with your good customers to understand their changing needs
- Listen for changes in your prospects business and be ready to use the pivot
- Think about your situation and how you can use the pivot to improve it