Sales is a needs assessment-problem discovery/solution placement model. We use relationships and industry knowledge and well-conceived product data to align with prospects to help influence them to choose us.
Now, with technology, we have even more capability to offer product data and find our what’s happening with the buyer. The internet, e-marketing, webinars, websites, are offering buyers whatever data they may need to choose. With our fabulous technology, we can track them, cookie them, send them stuff, entice them with blog posts. But at the end of the day, until or unless they make a purchase, we’ve done it all for naught.
ONE END OF THE BUYING DECISION
We spend so much money and so much time and resource positioning our solution and tracking site visitors yet still are not assured of a sale. Reminiscent of our conventional sales process, no? The problem is that we are addressing only one piece of the buying decision and totally ignoring the areas and issues buyers must address privately before they can even consider our solution.
It’s time to enhance the job of sales and add one more skill set to what we’re doing: it’s time to add Buying Facilitation™ to the front end of the process and give sellers a new tool kit to help buyers navigate through their off-line, behind-the-scenes decision issues that we cannot be privy to (nor can we influence, due to its private, idiosyncratic, and relationship-based focus) but must happen in order for a prospect to make a purchase.
Unfortunately, most sales folks don’t even know it’s possible to help buyers manage this private stuff. Instead they just sit and wait until buyers come back and purchase – only aprox 7% of the time.
Buying Facilitation™ uses Facilitative Questions and leads buyers, much like a GPS system, through the change management issues they must accomplish internally, among themselves, before they can buy anything. It closes more business much much faster, finds more prospects, gets rid of tire kickers and discovers sales that will never close right at the beginning and stop time wastage. Added to the sales model my clients have increased sales by over 600% consistently. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
RIGHT SOLUTION, GREAT RELATIONSHIP, CHOSEN VENDOR, LOST SALE
I recently lost a large job with one of the world’s largest banks because the internal tech team took over the initiative. I did the best I could with my Facilitative Questions – I quickly brought them together, onto the Buying Decision Team, and helped the team members understand their buying criteria that they hadn’t recognized.
I knew that any tech group worth its salt would want the work the prospect wanted me to do for them and that my underlying problem to resolve was to help them choose me over their internal resource.
I knew it would be hard going, as the cost for the project would be high and they’d rather keep the money in-house. How could I help them decide to spend money with an outsider who could give them a lot more than their own tech team could – a huge challenge since I knew I could never be there for their private discussions, no matter how appropriate my solution was.
But I made a valiant effort. As soon as the head of commercial banking called me to see if I could actually accomplish what he wanted done, I asked: “What’s stopping your tech team from doing this for you?” That was the prospect’s problem of course. When he told his team he was going to call me, the tech team began purchasing my books and reading up on Buying Facilitation™ so they could design a program to accomplish a sort of decision facilitation.
“How will you and your Buying Decision Team know that what the tech guys can get from my books will not be sophisticated or robust enough to handle the range of challenges you need to address?” I asked.
On our first call, my prospect put together the Buying Decision Team – heads of commercial banking, retail banking, technology, training, internal consulting – and scheduled a phone meeting in 4 days. After the meeting, 4 of them were ready to move forward. The tech guy was silent. Afterwards, I told my prospect that he was gathering data to make a pitch to everyone else and convince them they could do it instead of me.
Because I used the conversation to help them make the internal decisions they would eventually need to make, they put me on their Buying Decision Team; I got the internal emails and had a say. But of course, the ‘say’ was limited. I wasn’t there at their meetings, or in the hall when they met at the water cooler.
Eventually, the tech guys won: they convinced mostly everyone (except my internal coach who knew it wasn’t possible) that they could accomplish the same thing I could. My prospect says he will call me for the next phase. Right.
I had the right solution, a trusting relationship, a place on the Buying Decision Team, great rapport – but I was not right there when the tech guys prevailed. We can’t be: we are not part of the internal culture. And sales doesn’t give us the ability. I did the best I could. The good news is that I avoided having to write up a large, time-wasting proposal and fly over to make a presentation. I was on the team and got the emails. But….
In many cases, Buying Facilitation™ can influence the buying decision quickly. It certainly gets us on the Buying Decision Team by the second call. But for those times it doesn’t I can stop wasting time and still keep a good relationship with my prospect.
It’s now time to expand the sales capability. In addition to the great stuff you’re doing with positioning product and finding prospects, help your buyers manage their off-line decisions. You’ll sell more and waste less time.