Opportunity seeking is a pro-active activity and requires the salesperson to understand the prospect’s core business and business values. Salespeople must become sensitive to the prospect’s needs beyond the obvious.
They must develop the ability to uncover potential problems and have the foresight to suggest ideas that would benefit the prospect’s business.
There are five basic levels of opportunity seeking.
Level 1: Knowing what the prospect says he wants to buy. This is basically order taking or responding to the prospect’s request without any attempt to qualify the opportunity.
“Thanks for the order.”
Level 2: Knowing what the prospect needs to be buying. This is similar to Level 1 but the salesperson has taken the time to ensure that what the prospect says he wants is really what he needs.
“Let me check this out with you.”
Level 3: Knowing what the prospect plans to buy. Many organizations plan their capital purchases one or more years in advance and the thorough salesperson knows where to get this information.
“What are your upcoming needs?”
Level 4: Knowing what the prospect would like to buy. Once a salesperson has established a good rapport with a prospect, he or she can learn what the organization would do and what it might buy if funding wasn’t a consideration or when funding becomes available.
“Funding aside, what would you like to buy?”
Level 5: Knowing what the prospect should be buying. This is where serious account management really pays off. When a salesperson understands the prospect’s business, its industry, and the company’s business goals, he or she is in a position to provide ideas and make recommendations that can drive the purchasing process.
“I’ve got some ideas for you.”