The buyer knows they need to change, but what do they do next?
We have already looked at stage 1 in the buying process, the Why Buy On completion of this stage the buyer is motivated to change and they have the approval, resourcing and funding in place to make it happen. But how do they do to realise the value?
Here, in stage 2, the buyer must now evaluate the various solutions available, the Solution In broad terms they have a “make or buy” decision although in many cases they will have many options to consider and their energy will focus on choosing the right path to take for their circumstances.
Often the buying team will seek help at this stage. They want expertise, advice and experience to support them in their buying decision. This advisory role is where a consultative salesperson is able to demonstrate significant value to the buying team, but to do this you must be honest and helpful.
1. Be honest with the potential buyer and develop trust
In situations that are not unique, the buyer is looking for best practice so they will be keen to learn how others have successfully addressed this problem/opportunity. Share experience with them about why others chose a particular route.
If their situation is more unique, spend time to collect and demonstrate insight;
- Demonstrate you understand their organisation, challenges and how they create value. Awareness of the marketplace in which they operate and how they could differentiate themselves will be invaluable.
- Share information on trends and activity in your marketplace, your solutions and those offered by your competitors. Show them how you are different and this will help to influence the buying criteria in your favour!
Help the client evaluate the possible solutions and, by sharing knowledge of the pro’s and con’s of each approach, help them to finalise their course of action. Think about your involvement here; if you are not helping the client at this point, consider whether one of your competitors is?
It is essential that you are honest in your insight with the buying team if you are to build trust. With trust comes greater levels of engagement.
Be clear about the benefits of the solution you have and refrain from making exaggerated claims that you are unable to back up.
2. Be honest with yourself and focus effort.
Evaluate your potential solution and how well it meets the finalised requirement. Is it a really good fit? Can you see where you are a better fit to the other alternatives? If your solution is a good fit for the client you are well placed to be considered when they get to stage 3 of their process, the “Why You?“. The deal is not ‘in the bag’ quite yet.
Invest time with the buying team to understand those involved in the buying process, the approach they will take to evaluate proposals and the criteria that will be used to make their decision. Each person in the buying team will have their personal focus areas in addition to any published criteria so try to understand these.
If you have a poor solution it is time to consider your approach to the opportunity, do you have time to develop a winning position or should you pull out and save time, effort and cost?
When the prospect has questions related to their options, who do they turn to? You or your competitor?