Consider the following situation: you successfully complete a project for the customer, complete all planned steps, and make all stipulated deliverables. Still, the customer ends up unhappy and dissatisfied.

Can you tell me what happened?

Of two, one: either he expected much more from his project or he expected something completely different. That is, you just didn’t live up to expectations.

This type of problem can be avoided by aligning what you propose and what your customer expects.

In this text, I’m going to talk about the importance of understanding your lead’s needs and desires, and how to align expectations during the sale. So don’t stop reading!

Why is aligning expectations important?

When we are super anxious to close that deal, it can happen that we get carried away and end up increasing the value of the product we are offering.

This is very bad, because the lead creates the wrong idea of ​​the company. Which, consequently, causes disappointments upon delivery.

Furthermore, even the best customer successes get lost in their own processes and fail to continually keep up with customer expectations.

The alignment of expectations throughout the sales process in Blue World City is essential to ensure not only the project’s success, but also to ensure your customer’s satisfaction. And, of course, success and satisfaction are closely related!

It is even possible that, for the same service, people’s satisfaction is influenced by completely different things.

Take the case of OTB, for example, which provides consultancy for the client’s commercial sector. During the project, we deal with the director, sales manager, and salespeople.

As they are people with different responsibilities and backgrounds and who work with different processes, their expectations for the project are, of course, also very different.

And that happens to you too. Since the impact of the service on each person involved will be different, you must align expectations with each person at different times in the sale and project.

That is, you must understand the wants and needs of both the director, the manager, and the vendors, and align project deliverables with those expectations.

Now you can understand why aligning expectations is so important, right? So let’s get to the best part: putting it into practice!

Want to know how to align expectations with your lead? I have made a list of the main steps you should take to make an effective alignment during the sale.

Create an agenda for the conversation

The alignment of expectations must be done from the first contact with the lead and in all contacts with him. And I’m not just referring to what people expect from your product or project, but also what they expect from each contact with you.

At the beginning of each conversation with the lead, you should explain what will happen in that meeting. Set a schedule of all the points you’ll go through in the course of the conversation, then make sure he’s in agreement and if you want to touch on some other specific point. Only then should you start the meeting.

Want an example?

Here at OTB, the hunter’s role is to qualify the lead, trying to understand their pains and problems experienced in the commercial process.

If you don’t know what a hunter is, read this text: Hunters and Closers: Outbound team made up of experts 

But hunter also explains how our consultancy works, making it clear that the purpose of the conversation is not to close a deal and that the closer conversation still exists.

Thus, in the first contact with the lead, the hunter establishes an agenda. He explains his purpose in the conversation and how the sales process works, making it clear that there is a next step.

It then checks to see if the lead agrees to this timeline for the conversation, and then starts the meeting.

This makes the process more organized, making the lead safer, and avoiding misunderstandings. In addition, following an agenda also prevents a loss of focus during the conversation, making it more productive.

Solve the lead pains 

In a consultative sale, success isn’t just about delivering a product or service, it’s about offering the lead something that really solves their pain. For this, you need to deeply understand what these pains are and make it clear to him how you are going to remedy them.

This is essential to not get into that situation at the beginning of this article.

I’ll tell you the methodology I use here at Outbound to make this alignment. But you should approach these points according to the agenda you defined at the beginning of the conversation with the lead, ok?

My first step is to understand his pain before explaining what I do. I ask the lead several questions that help them figure out what their explicit and implicit expectations are (I’ll talk about identifying the implicit ones in item 3!).

I show interest in the company’s history and its current situation, because they are factors that help to contextualize the pain. And of course I need to know the structure of the company, its decisive process and the moment it is going through.

But my service is a marketing and sales consultancy, so I focus the conversation on the business process. I wonder if they do inbound or outbound, if they have a lead generation flow, among other questions that help identify gaps.

You can do Marilia Gabriela! You will only know the pains of the lead if you ask.

 

I like to conduct the conversations in this way to better direct my explanations about our consultancy, paying attention to the aspects that interest him most and killing objections.

For example, if the lead tells me that the company is at a good time but lives on referrals, I already know three things:

  1. His biggest pain is the lack of a customer acquisition flow, as these leads don’t hold up;
  2. I need to talk more about this pain so that he recognizes it and sees me as an opportunity to heal it;
  3. I must explain in detail how the consultancy will guide you in building this flow.

It takes great care and clarity when dealing with pain so that the lead does not wait, for example, for the consultancy to deliver a new portfolio of clients.

I am calmly explaining my work so that the expectation is that it will have an independent customer acquisition flow running until the end of the project.

When everything is understood and validated, just pass the lead on to others involved in the sales process.

Discover your lead’s implicit expectations

I’ve already said that the key is to ask a series of questions to understand your lead’s needs and wants. It turns out that he will not always externalize his expectations.

This is what team of Capital Smart City call implicit expectations, which are based on a number of factors:

  • Lead company culture and standards;
  • Lead industry standards;
  • The reputation of the seller who approached you;
  • Reputation of the prospector company;
  • Client portfolio of the prospector company, among others.

Often, even the lead doesn’t know that it has these expectations. They come from his reality, depending on the position he holds, or the baggage of information he has.

So, to identify implicit expectations, in addition to questions, you need to put yourself in the lead’s shoes. Try to understand the environment in which he is inserted and how he sees his company.

Look at the factors I’ve listed and ask yourself: Based on this information, if you were the lead, what would you expect from your product or service?

It may seem very abstract, but the simple act of putting yourself in the person’s shoes can reveal a lot.

The lead can see you as an opportunity to get a promotion at work or dream about the results of another client of yours. And how are you going to align expectations with him if you don’t know he’s wanting that sort of thing, right?

Be frank with your leads

In the above two topics, I said that you need to make it clear to your lead what they should expect from your product or service.

Well, throughout conversations with the lead, you must be frank and explain what you and your company will be able to accomplish for them – but also what is outside your scope.

By defining the project boundaries right at the sale, you will have a healthier relationship with your customer in the future.

At OTB, it is common for leads to ask in the sales process when things will be done, or when it will be able to achieve certain results.

When it is possible to predict deadlines, you should communicate the standards of your service, making it clear that they are susceptible to change and that they can vary from project to project.

When it is not possible to predict, explain that this can only be answered throughout the project.

Keep your client informed about the status of the project and set a schedule to be followed.

If you have issues throughout the project that will affect the deadline or delivery of results, let your client know as soon as possible.

Take care of passing the baton

After each contact with the lead, it is essential that you leave everything you talked about recorded.

This record is important not only for information management and to guide future contacts, but for all the people in your company involved in the sales and service provision process to be aligned.

Your briefing will feed the team member who comes next in the process.

Here at OTB, the sales process is segmented into three stages, involving three people: a business intelligence officer, a hunter, and a closer.

We talk about this segmentation here:  Who is who in the segmented sales process? learn at once

So that the passing of information is done effectively, after each conversation with the lead, the hunter fills out a document covering all the points previously defined.

It is usually information about the company and the lead, as well as observations about the person’s expectations and the moment they are living.

This briefing is fed back to the closer and helps him understand some of the lead’s expectations, both implicit and explicit, before even talking to him.

During their conversations, the closer also gives a briefing. And, at the end, all this information is passed on to the consulting team that will serve the new client.

No guesswork!

Never assume something your lead hasn’t said. You need to make sure you’re on the same page as the lead with regard to expectations, to avoid misunderstandings that can compromise the sales and project success.

After talking to the lead or customer on the phone about a question or problem, send an email confirming the main points discussed.

If you’ve chatted via email, send a summary of the entire conversation in your own words, to make sure all the points are really clear.

It’s better to be redundant and reaffirm your lead’s expectations than to apologize for an error that occurred due to miscommunication. If something isn’t clear to you, ask!

Conclusion

Aligning expectations during the sale is essential for project success and also for saving time. By understanding the lead’s expectations and introducing your company, you can decide if it really makes sense to serve that person.

In other words, it’s easier to discard those leads that don’t fit with your service right away, avoiding conversations that won’t get you anywhere.

Although the focus of this text has been to align expectations during the sale, don’t forget that this is also essential after the sale and throughout the project.

A well-defined and replicable onboarding process is critical to ensuring effective expectations alignment.

We have a whole text about it:  Onboarding – The Best Practice for Retaining Customers in After Sales

Say it here in the comments or send an email (marketing@outboundmarketing.com.br) telling you if I met your expectations with this text!

And don’t forget to download our free eBook to learn more techniques for aligning expectations and becoming a super-qualifying professional.

How to align expectations with the lead during the sale

Consider the following situation: you successfully complete a project for the customer, complete all planned steps, and make all stipulated deliverables. Still, the customer ends up unhappy and dissatisfied.

Can you tell me what happened?

Of two, one: either he expected much more from his project or he expected something completely different. That is, you just didn’t live up to expectations.

This type of problem can be avoided by aligning what you propose and what your customer expects.

In this text, I’m going to talk about the importance of understanding your lead’s needs and desires, and how to align expectations during the sale. So don’t stop reading!

Why is aligning expectations important?

When we are super anxious to close that deal, it can happen that we get carried away and end up increasing the value of the product we are offering.

This is very bad, because the lead creates the wrong idea of ​​the company. Which, consequently, causes disappointments upon delivery.

Furthermore, even the best customer successes get lost in their own processes and fail to continually keep up with customer expectations.

The alignment of expectations throughout the sales process in Blue World City is essential to ensure not only the project’s success, but also to ensure your customer’s satisfaction. And, of course, success and satisfaction are closely related!

It is even possible that, for the same service, people’s satisfaction is influenced by completely different things.

Take the case of OTB, for example, which provides consultancy for the client’s commercial sector. During the project, we deal with the director, sales manager, and salespeople.

As they are people with different responsibilities and backgrounds and who work with different processes, their expectations for the project are, of course, also very different.

And that happens to you too. Since the impact of the service on each person involved will be different, you must align expectations with each person at different times in the sale and project.

That is, you must understand the wants and needs of both the director, the manager, and the vendors, and align project deliverables with those expectations.

Now you can understand why aligning expectations is so important, right? So let’s get to the best part: putting it into practice!

Want to know how to align expectations with your lead? I have made a list of the main steps you should take to make an effective alignment during the sale.

Create an agenda for the conversation

The alignment of expectations must be done from the first contact with the lead and in all contacts with him. And I’m not just referring to what people expect from your product or project, but also what they expect from each contact with you.

At the beginning of each conversation with the lead, you should explain what will happen in that meeting. Set a schedule of all the points you’ll go through in the course of the conversation, then make sure he’s in agreement and if you want to touch on some other specific point. Only then should you start the meeting.

Want an example?

Here at OTB, the hunter’s role is to qualify the lead, trying to understand their pains and problems experienced in the commercial process.

If you don’t know what a hunter is, read this text: Hunters and Closers: Outbound team made up of experts 

But hunter also explains how our consultancy works, making it clear that the purpose of the conversation is not to close a deal and that the closer conversation still exists.

Thus, in the first contact with the lead, the hunter establishes an agenda. He explains his purpose in the conversation and how the sales process works, making it clear that there is a next step.

It then checks to see if the lead agrees to this timeline for the conversation, and then starts the meeting.

This makes the process more organized, making the lead safer, and avoiding misunderstandings. In addition, following an agenda also prevents a loss of focus during the conversation, making it more productive.

Solve the lead pains 

In a consultative sale, success isn’t just about delivering a product or service, it’s about offering the lead something that really solves their pain. For this, you need to deeply understand what these pains are and make it clear to him how you are going to remedy them.

This is essential to not get into that situation at the beginning of this article.

I’ll tell you the methodology I use here at Outbound to make this alignment. But you should approach these points according to the agenda you defined at the beginning of the conversation with the lead, ok?

My first step is to understand his pain before explaining what I do. I ask the lead several questions that help them figure out what their explicit and implicit expectations are (I’ll talk about identifying the implicit ones in item 3!).

I show interest in the company’s history and its current situation, because they are factors that help to contextualize the pain. And of course I need to know the structure of the company, its decisive process and the moment it is going through.

But my service is a marketing and sales consultancy, so I focus the conversation on the business process. I wonder if they do inbound or outbound, if they have a lead generation flow, among other questions that help identify gaps.

You can do Marilia Gabriela! You will only know the pains of the lead if you ask.

 

I like to conduct the conversations in this way to better direct my explanations about our consultancy, paying attention to the aspects that interest him most and killing objections.

For example, if the lead tells me that the company is at a good time but lives on referrals, I already know three things:

  1. His biggest pain is the lack of a customer acquisition flow, as these leads don’t hold up;
  2. I need to talk more about this pain so that he recognizes it and sees me as an opportunity to heal it;
  3. I must explain in detail how the consultancy will guide you in building this flow.

It takes great care and clarity when dealing with pain so that the lead does not wait, for example, for the consultancy to deliver a new portfolio of clients.

I am calmly explaining my work so that the expectation is that it will have an independent customer acquisition flow running until the end of the project.

When everything is understood and validated, just pass the lead on to others involved in the sales process.

Discover your lead’s implicit expectations

I’ve already said that the key is to ask a series of questions to understand your lead’s needs and wants. It turns out that he will not always externalize his expectations.

This is what team of Capital Smart City call implicit expectations, which are based on a number of factors:

  • Lead company culture and standards;
  • Lead industry standards;
  • The reputation of the seller who approached you;
  • Reputation of the prospector company;
  • Client portfolio of the prospector company, among others.

Often, even the lead doesn’t know that it has these expectations. They come from his reality, depending on the position he holds, or the baggage of information he has.

So, to identify implicit expectations, in addition to questions, you need to put yourself in the lead’s shoes. Try to understand the environment in which he is inserted and how he sees his company.

Look at the factors I’ve listed and ask yourself: Based on this information, if you were the lead, what would you expect from your product or service?

It may seem very abstract, but the simple act of putting yourself in the person’s shoes can reveal a lot.

The lead can see you as an opportunity to get a promotion at work or dream about the results of another client of yours. And how are you going to align expectations with him if you don’t know he’s wanting that sort of thing, right?

Be frank with your leads

In the above two topics, I said that you need to make it clear to your lead what they should expect from your product or service.

Well, throughout conversations with the lead, you must be frank and explain what you and your company will be able to accomplish for them – but also what is outside your scope.

By defining the project boundaries right at the sale, you will have a healthier relationship with your customer in the future.

At OTB, it is common for leads to ask in the sales process when things will be done, or when it will be able to achieve certain results.

When it is possible to predict deadlines, you should communicate the standards of your service, making it clear that they are susceptible to change and that they can vary from project to project.

When it is not possible to predict, explain that this can only be answered throughout the project.

Keep your client informed about the status of the project and set a schedule to be followed.

If you have issues throughout the project that will affect the deadline or delivery of results, let your client know as soon as possible.

Take care of passing the baton

After each contact with the lead, it is essential that you leave everything you talked about recorded.

This record is important not only for information management and to guide future contacts, but for all the people in your company involved in the sales and service provision process to be aligned.

Your briefing will feed the team member who comes next in the process.

Here at OTB, the sales process is segmented into three stages, involving three people: a business intelligence officer, a hunter, and a closer.

We talk about this segmentation here:  Who is who in the segmented sales process? learn at once

So that the passing of information is done effectively, after each conversation with the lead, the hunter fills out a document covering all the points previously defined.

It is usually information about the company and the lead, as well as observations about the person’s expectations and the moment they are living.

This briefing is fed back to the closer and helps him understand some of the lead’s expectations, both implicit and explicit, before even talking to him.

During their conversations, the closer also gives a briefing. And, at the end, all this information is passed on to the consulting team that will serve the new client.

No guesswork!

Never assume something your lead hasn’t said. You need to make sure you’re on the same page as the lead with regard to expectations, to avoid misunderstandings that can compromise the sales and project success.

After talking to the lead or customer on the phone about a question or problem, send an email confirming the main points discussed.

If you’ve chatted via email, send a summary of the entire conversation in your own words, to make sure all the points are really clear.

It’s better to be redundant and reaffirm your lead’s expectations than to apologize for an error that occurred due to miscommunication. If something isn’t clear to you, ask!

Conclusion

Aligning expectations during the sale is essential for project success and also for saving time. By understanding the lead’s expectations and introducing your company, you can decide if it really makes sense to serve that person.

In other words, it’s easier to discard those leads that don’t fit with your service right away, avoiding conversations that won’t get you anywhere.

Although the focus of this text has been to align expectations during the sale, don’t forget that this is also essential after the sale and throughout the project.

A well-defined and replicable onboarding process is critical to ensuring effective expectations alignment.

We have a whole text about it:  Onboarding – The Best Practice for Retaining Customers in After Sales

Say it here in the comments or send an email (marketing@outboundmarketing.com.br) telling you if I met your expectations with this text!

And don’t forget to download our free eBook to learn more techniques for aligning expectations and becoming a super-qualifying professional.