People buy safe. They will say yes if you can help take fear off the table, if you can lower the likelihood of failing.
A healthy portion of the conversation focused on reducing barriers and building immediate value for prospects buying in the current uncertain environment. According to Tom, some of the fears your prospects may have (which keep them from buying but can also increase their urgency to close if you can solve for them) include:
- “I don’t want to make a mistake”
- “I don’t want to be accountable”
- “Is your technology advanced or adept enough”
- “I need transparency to ensure we’re making progress”
- “Can I stop this if it doesn’t work”
So how do you help people buy when the stakes feel higher, when risk feels greater, and when budget is scarce?
- Focus on a 60-90 day window for time to value. Even if what you are selling provides benefits far beyond this timeline, articulate clearly the shorter-term impact.
- Know their problem before you call. And if the prospect doesn’t know the problem or can’t articulate/explain it themselves, then they are not the decision maker.
- Know the process and people required to buy. This includes consensus milestones at each step of the buying process, no matter how long, short, complicated or clear the buying process is from the get go.
Some other insights from Tom last week:
- Find out what’s NOT in it for the buyer (in other words, what it’s not going to add to their plate)
- Nobody has the same set of goals, including internal decision makers and buying committee members. The better you understand their unique needs, the better you can help build consensus and velocity towards a positive outcome (for both parties).
- Speed to “no”. The quicker you can disqualify prospects and opportunities, the better.
- Hey Marketers – sales needs better thinking, not better Web sites. Sell sheets are useful, but commercial insights, competitive intelligence and new ways to articulate the problem and solution are vastly more important.
My favorite comment from the chat stream during Tom’s session last week was “I need to go watch the on-demand replay of this, I just can’t write fast enough!”
For Brandon and others, here’s that replay to watch, rewatch and share with your colleagues.
Join us every Thursday as we bring new best-selling authors on selling, leadership and management strategies to you. Great books, amazing authors (answering your questions), no reading required!