At sales meetings, I like to hand out Double Stuff Oreos and watch people enjoy them. At least half the group wants to know where the milk is! I enjoy seeing how people eat them. Some eat them whole, and others pull them apart and eat the cream first. After they have enjoyed their cookies, I ask, “What makes an Oreo an Oreo?”
In this post, we discussed how to identify the different types of buyers in a complex sale, and how to use the questions they ask to pinpoint what their buying concerns are. Understanding each type of buyer’s decision criteria is key to winning the business.
This can be challenging, even if everyone involved is a relatively easy-going person. But sometimes, there are personality factors that can make this process a bit more complicated. That’s what happens when one of your buyers is a power broker or an antagonist.
In my last post, I discussed the communication problems that arise when a person who thinks one way speaks to a listener who thinks in a completely different way. The person doing the talking is presenting the kind of information that is important to him, but he doesn’t get his message across because what’s important to his listener is something entirely different.
I also talked about how incorporating Whole Brain® Thinking into your sales process helps you identify how your prospects think so you can present the information your prospects need to hear to say, “I’ll buy!” Now, I’d like to share some examples of how people and companies I know have used this information to increase sales, repair dysfunctional teams, and improve (or even save) personal relationships.
Have you ever been discussing an idea or explaining something to someone, and – no matter how eloquent you were – had the feeling that you weren’t being understood?
Complex sales where there are numerous decision-makers can be difficult to navigate. Closing such a deal requires an understanding of the different types of buyers, what their concerns are, and what influences their desires. It also requires the ability to anticipate, identify, and address the factors each individual cares about.
There are three players in a complex sale: influencer/user, technical, and financial buyer. In smaller companies, one person can serve in all three roles, but with larger organizations, there are typically two or three people fulfilling them.
After you’ve completed your sales presentation or product demo, the buyer enters the evaluation phase of the buying process, and a scary monster frequently rears its ugly head: risk. Risk can kill a deal, and its threat can increase as your prospect evaluates your offering.
What is the opportunity cost of going with this solution or vendor?
What will happen if I commit and spend this money?
Will I truly get the value I need?
What if I’m missing something?
You’ve just made a great sales presentation for a great prospect. The whole sales process has gone smoothly from the beginning. You like your buyers, and they like you and your offering. They definitely want to do business with you! If only you can agree on a price.
It’s easy and natural to get a little discouraged when a buyer asks you to lower your fee. But don’t assume they’ve applied the brakes just yet. Price is only 18% of the buying decision. The competence of the sales rep, however, is 39% of the buying decision. You may feel uncomfortable, but your customer has just offered you an excellent opportunity to demonstrate a high degree of competence by handling his request correctly.
In his book, Achieve Sales Excellence, author Howard Stevens set forth “The Seven Rules of the Customer.” These seven rules emerged from comments recorded in over 80,000 interviews his company conducted as part of a fourteen-year study of 7,500 sales reps from 2,500 companies. One of the things study participants - all of whom were business customers - were asked to share was what qualities they believed a world-class sales organization must possess.
The participants were asked to list and weight the main criteria they use when making a buying decision and selecting a vendor. Overwhelmingly, customers reported the same four factors and assigned similar levels of importance to them related to how much of the buying decision rests on each:
In my last post, I talked about why conventional sales strategies that were considered “tried and true” two decades ago are no longer working in today’s environment; they’re more about the seller than the buyer. Unfortunately, many sales reps still cling to the old ways, despite the fact they are losing business to sales reps with inferior products. What they don’t understand is that the sales reps who are beating them have an approach to selling that customers love: Customer Aligned Selling.
Customer Aligned Sales reps begin every sales call with the goal of creating value during every interaction with the prospect or customer. They understand that the new sales formula is “value = trust.” They know that if their focus is on adding value, the prospect will trust them. That trust leads to true and loyal relationships, which lead to repeat business.