Written by Sean McPheat |
“But I sell a great product Sean, why won’t they buy?”
It’s a question I get asked a lot!
Many salespeople think that just having a great product is good enough – that it will sell itself but in these days of massive change, this will never be enough to be successful.
The changes that have driven us to where we are today will take us on a faster and faster journey in the future.
The way buyers structure their decision-making processes today are so different that it can leave many salespeople just scratching their heads, wondering what to to do next.
The facts are unless we change the way we blend with the decision-makers’ different way of assimilating success for their businesses, we will be left behind.
Here are three facts that will make you stop and think about the way you sell.
Norbert Kriebel of Forrester Research found that “regardless of role, altitude level or geography, executive buyers select sellers who engage at the ‘what to do’ stage 74% of the time and the ‘who to choose’ stage only 26% of the time”.
This means that the majority of salespeople are often too late to approach a decision-maker. When the budget has been set, the decision has often already been made.
The fact is that budgets are set after the buying vision has been identified. Think about it…do businesses pick a figure and then see what they can spend their budget on, or do they see a need or opportunity and then decide how much they want to spend on it?
In by far the majority of times it’s the latter. So what you need to ensure is that you are in the running with the buying vision before the prospect has set the budgets.
Think about what’s uppermost in your prospect’s mind when you meet with them. They’re not interested in the latest whizz-bang feature that you’ve been spending eons developing…they only want to know how their business will fare in the future if they buy it.
Forrester Research again…”88% of buyers indicate the salespeople they see are knowledgable about their products and services…but only 24% are knowledgable about the prospect’s business”
This fact ensures only one thing; the client has to do all the hard work to determine how the product will benefit them in the future.
What you need to do is prepare your presentation around the changes this will incorporate in the buyer’s business. Gone are the days when you could just wing it and hope thew price would be the deciding factor. You need to be on the wavelength of the prospect from the first to the last minute.
Michael Norton, writing in the Harvard Business Review, found that recommending an approach by saying ‘Here’s why this will work and this is what it will cost’ actually pushes the buyer away from the solution. Norton states that the buyer’s scepticism increases as they see and feel themselves being persuaded and influenced towards a certain outcome.
What his research showed was that when buyers are actively involved in the decision-making themselves, they value them more. The more time and effort invested by the buyer in the stages of the purchase, the greater the chances of them ‘buying into’ the benefits they will achieve.
What this means is that you should get your buyers involved early on in determining the success factors for them and their businesses, and develop your conversational skills that will enable them to choose the benefits for themselves and hence increase their value.
I’m not saying these ideas will create consistent results for you, but these factors may help you determine the best way to engage and interact with your buyers so they see the benefits of your products and services without you having to push them in any direction.
Originally published: 14 January, 2016