I just read a blog that asked that question. What, exactly, does this mean?
I’m going to say something you’re not going to like: your customer is not stuck in the buying cycle. They are stuck trying to herd cats. And you are stuck trying to get them to do what you want them to do. Your way. On your time scale.
You forget that before buyers can buy they have to make sure all of the people, groups, and capabilities that touch the ‘fix’ (your solution) must buy-in to something new coming into the company and make sure they won’t be harmed in the process. They need to make sure that people work together, that outsourcing is considered as appropriate, that the rules that need to be changed don’t harm anyone.
And, if they had such a demanding need, they would have figure out a solution already.
ARE YOU STUCK IN THE SALES CYCLE?
Maybe you’re the one who is stuck.
Do you assume that because a prospect has a need and your solution is a good fix, that there is a prospect?
Do you assume that because a prospect understands how their need is resolved by your solution that they will buy?
At what point do you recognize all the steps buyers have to take behind-the-scenes before they can even consider making a purchase – and help them navigate through all of these change management (non-sales-related) decisions?
How do you change your selling patterns to match your buyer’s buying patterns?
How do you help your prospect recognize that their regular vendor can’t provide the total solution, even though they are close friends (Hint: telling them your solution is better does not help one bit.)?
How do you even get into the sort of relationship wherein you can lead them through the discovery of their choice criteria?
Do you assume there will be a price objection? How do you build it in to your sales effort upfront – and bias the conversation to make sure it happen (i.e. cause the objection because of your communication assumptions)?
Stop thinking about the buyer being stuck. Once you know how to become the GPS system that leads your buyers through their entire decision journey – not just the part that your solution can resolve – you will become a partner in the buying cycle. If you just stick with your typical sales skills, you’re stuck in the sales cycle.
Read Dirty Little Secrets and learn some skills to help your buyer navigate through their decision journey. It’s not sales – it’s change management – but it will certain unstick both of you.