As you enter your meeting, do you know
- what percent of the entire Buying Decision Team is there?
- what weight your contact has on the full Buying Decision Team?
- if everyone who will touch the solution has added their buying criteria to the ‘needs’ discussion?
- who is NOT at the meeting… because they haven’t yet been brought onto the Buying Decision Team? because they are at war with someone in the room but is influential? because they don’t want a new solution? because no one invited them?
- what else this group needs to do before they are ready to make a purchase?
- who else they are meeting with – and their criteria for choosing one vendor over another?
Sellers seem to believe that just because you get an appointment you have a leg-up to make a sale. But this isn’t true, or you’d be closing a lot more sales.
WHO COMES TO AN APPOINTMENT?
Here is what happens when you make prospecting calls to get an appointment vs using Buying Facilitation® which helps buyers begin the process of solving a business problem immediately:
1. The only people who agree to a meeting (as a result of a prospecting call) are folks already in the market for a solution. That means, you are already in a price and value competition at the start. With Buying Facilitation®, the whole Buying Decision Team will be at the meeting.
2. The only folks present may or may not be real decision makers. That means that your brilliant presentation may not be seen by the right people, and in fact will be mis-interpretted as these spokespeople describe it to others. Using Buying Facilitation® will actually teach the buyer how to choose the right people to attend.
3. You have no idea how your presentation fits with the ultimate buying criteria the Buying Decision Team will agree to: Until the entire group is chosen and determines the criteria, the exact specifics of the need are undefined. Your presentation may miss the forest for the trees – and you will never find out the truth here. Using Buying Facilitation® you won’t present until decisions to move forward and actions have been planned: then the buyer will know exactly what they need and you can give a targeted presentation.
4. You have no idea how they have been managing their problem until now or what would need to change to add a new solution: who is currently managing the work-around; is there a group/team that is doing something similar to what you propose and they’d be out of a job; what would they need to reconfigure to bring in a new solution and how would that affect work flow or job descriptions. You having a good solution does not help them manage change. Using Buying Facilitation® you will know everything you need to move forward before you get to the meeting, and so will your prospect.
WHEN DOES THE PROSPECT DEFINE THEIR SOLUTION NEEDS?
The very last thing a buyer does is choose a solution. When you call to get an appointment, you are ignoring the change management issues the buyers must manage behind the scenes. It would be equivalent to you walking home and noticing a terrific house for sale, buying it, and getting home to your family telling them they are moving tomorrow – after one brief conversation with your wife about moving but without everyone discussing that they want to move, when, what neighborhood, and what they each want a house to do to take care of individual needs (ie. a large playroom; a backyard; a large kitchen, etc).
When you use Buying Facilitation® from the first call, you are directing your efforts to helping buyers determine their steps toward a purchase. You will be able to
- tell immediately who is ready and willing to go through that process,
- get rid of those who will never buy,
- open up those who didn’t know they needed to buy,
- help them determine who needs to be involved in the ultimate decisions and how to begin those conversatoins,
- help them determine who the solution will touch and the extent of change they will be facing.
You want the entire Buying Decision Team present on any appointment you go on. Don’t use your body as a prospecting tool. And just because you got an appointment doesn’t mean you made a sale.
Listen to Sharon-Drew make prospecting/qualifying calls: MP3
Read two sample chapters of Sharon-Drew’s latest book on how decisions get made to buy: Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.