A few years ago, a rep I was working with and I politely walked out of an appointment when the prospect simply refused to admit that he had any need for our product.  He was wasting thousands of dollars on a solution that didn’t really meet his current needs, but claimed he was doing that because “I’ve done it for ever”.  As tempted as I was to point out that his reasoning was illogical (Not a good idea, no one wants to hear their baby is ugly), what became obvious was this prospect was stuck in his current thinking, and he wasn’t open to considering anything but the costs. His beliefs about the issues facing his business and the real costs of those situations were simply not aligned with us, or with reality.

For a sale to proceed, some key beliefs have to be aligned between you and your prospects. In cases where they won’t agree to that, the Take-away is really your defense not to get sucked into a dead end conversation.  Sometimes, it actually unlocks the prospect from their thinking, even if it takes a bit of time. Six months later, that prospect called us back and switched over from his current vendor. His beliefs had changed, perhaps with some help from our conversation with him. He had started looking at both the costs AND the benefits of both his current provider and our company.

Now might be a good time to formalize your belief requirements. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write down the 2-3 beliefs that a prospect must agree with in order for them to be a qualified prospect. What does one need to believe about your industry to be a viable client? What do they need to believe about business? Life? While this may seem idiotically simple, many sales professionals waste an enormous amount of time spouting out features and benefits about their product that are not aligned with the reality of their prospect’s beliefs. Loudly and passionately preaching the quality of your chicken doesn’t make a vegetarian more likely to buy it. It just ticks them off! The validity of your chicken argument is lost on the vegetarian. More data won’t change that.

Write out the core beliefs that power your value proposition and before you discuss price, delivery, logistics or benefits, qualify each and every prospect by asking questions and making sure you are aligned at the belief level.

No chicken or vegetarians were harmed in the writing of this email. (although a vegan was slightly offended)