Because of the feared, or actual, financial crunch, companies are stepping back from their normal decision making behaviors. The problem is not that there is no money; they are just not spending it.
If that weren’t enough, they are so scared of making bad decisions that they’ve added additional stakeholders to each decision team to spread the risk. What does that mean? It means that “no” becomes the truly operative word.
Folks are scared to take a stand because they don’t understand the corporate risk AND the personal risk to their egos and reputations.
Folks are now working with strangers, with unknown repercussions for their future careers.
The possibility of agreeing on mutual criteria gets diluted in a larger team so there is no longer a set of assumed criteria to decide with.
Maneuvering Through Decisions
Remember that buyers need to know how to maneuver through their internal, hidden, and sometimes unconscious people/policy dynamics prior to making any sort of purchase or spending money. They had a hard time doing this before (Remember those long sales cycles? Now they are 50% longer!) because they are often unaware of all of the issues they need to contend with at the start. Now it’s worse.
And we can’t help them with our typical sales skills, because sales manages the need/solution/product placement end of the buying decision.
But if we put on a different hat, and change our job description to be neutral navigators – true leaders – and provide a path through human change issues, unconscious biases, and group dynamics, we can facilitate their route. But we cannot do this in the name of providing a solution – only in the name of true service. And the end result will look far different from what a prospect situation has looked like in the past.
Our new jobs must be to support internal, idiosyncratic, subjective buying decisions. Once you recognize that people and policies must buy-in to change (A purchase creates change, right?) before any action is taken, you can use your time, care, and relationship to help buyers maneuver through their internal change issues.
They have to do this anyway. It might as well be with you, in an efficient time frame, and with the integrity of truly serving your buyer’s decision process.
If you’d like me to write a White Paper for you on understanding the decision issues your buyers face, please email me at email@example.com.
Or have a look at my book Buying Facilitation:the new way to sell that inluences and expands decisions. Click here for two free chapters. It will teach you how to understand and manage the route through the internal decision process. Will it help you make a sale? Maybe. Maybe not. But it sure will help you make a client.