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If you’re being told to “go learn the industry, start a discovery, ask open ended questions that lead to your product or get the prospect to admit need,” you’re taking the first step toward creating resistance and a Long. Purchase. Cycle.
Why do we follow this well-worn sales process if it causes resistance and amplifies distrust?
We do it because “we don’t know” what the prospective buyer is thinking.
We don’t know:
* who is likely to buy or how they’re going to buy
* we don’t know what trips them up or stops them dead in their tracks
* we don’t know what they need to do to get buy-in and agreement from the all of the obvious and (not so) obvious stakeholders
* and most importantly, we don’t know what changes they’re facing as a result of making a purchase decision.
We’re outsiders and we can’t possibly know what’s going on inside the company with all of the politics, history, norms, values and beliefs that everyone involved carries around with them.
Even people inside the company walls don’t know what’s going on half the time!
Sales models do not have the capability to facilitate the buyer’s behind-the-scenes issues and activities to ensure they get the necessary buy-in to bring in an outside solution.
And so, the conventional sales wisdom says stick to what “you” can manage (your sales agenda) and let the buyer manage what they control.
This sales wisdom works well when you’re flush with ready buyers showing up ready to buy.
It works because the buyers buying patterns NOW match your selling patterns.
However, if you’re not flush with ready buyers, you need to change the agenda.
Your focus on matching “needs and pain” with your solution early in the conversation, is limiting your audience to those prospects who have already become ready buyers, completed their decision-making steps and seek the information that you offer.
You need to focus on the buyer’s agenda.
1. Get your marketing team to qualify the buyer’s willingness to change rather than the need to change.
2. Hire a company to decode and map how recent buyers of your solution made their purchase decisions. Don’t waste time trying to do this on your own. It’s too important and you will fail.
3. Get marketing to use the mapping tools to help willing buyers recognize exactly who/what they’ll need to do and how/when they’ll need to do it.
4. Get sales to use the mapping tools to guide willing buyers through the purchase decisions marketing raised and help them to get buy-in for the change issues they’ll face.
Once you’ve helped the buyer complete all of the necessary steps in their purchase decision and they’re clear on what their solution needs to contain, they will be ready to answer your discovery questions, seek information about your product content and ask questions about price, reputation and your brand.
Now you can sell.
This sequence – buying decision first, selling second – ensures you’ll quickly close a much larger number of buyers who WILL buy (rather than those you believe SHOULD buy) and keep you from wasting time on those that will never buy.