How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Steps in a Buying Decision
Guest articles > Steps in a Buying Decision
by: Sharon Drew Morgen
There seems to be a confusion about the meaning of the terms buying decision journey, buying path, buy-cycle, helping buyers buy, and buying decisions. These terms define a specific set of sequenced actions buyers take to enable internal consensus and change – change management issues, if you will - rather than define steps that address needs or vendor/solution choice which come later and are the focus of sales.
I coined the terms in the 1980s to describe elements of a change management process I developed (Buying Facilitation®) that coaches buyers through their behind-the-scenes change issues they must handle before they can buy - a consulting process to help them get their ducks in a row. With sales folks applying the terms to the purchasing portion of a buyer’s decisions, the vital change management support element, the element that makes us real coaches and relationship managers, the element that finds and creates real prospects and halves sales cycles, is being lost.
Let’s go through a mock buying decision process to show you what has to get done by buyers before they, well, before they become buyers. And btw this is all fully flushed out in my book Dirty Little Secrets (www.dirtylittlesecretsbook.com)
HOW DO WE BUY?
Pretend you are the VP of Client Services of a $15 million company and find your current website inadequate for your growth and strategy. Indeed, you want to go around your internal tech folks and hire an external vendor with a new vision. You must:
Here are all the steps you’ll go through to discover a solution everyone can get behind:
This very simplistic and very normal decision path took a year in which the lead contact changed, the BDT members changed, the needs changed, the buying criteria changed. Happens all the time. And the sales model doesn’t manage this end of the buying decision path. We just come in at the end when all of the rest has been completed, or come in too early before the complete data set is agreed to or understood. Do you know what stage your buyers are at when you speak with them?
SALES FOCUSES ON NEEDS AND SOLUTION PLACEMENT
Using just the sales model in the above situation, the potential vendors would enter too early to ‘understand needs’ or ‘get into the buyer’s shoes’, gather incomplete data (it wasn’t complete until Step 8) rather than facilitating discovery towards collaboration skills AND web design AND branding, plus addressing the CFO and Tech issues. And, the assumption would be that the entire Buying Decision Team – not fully formed until near the end – is already on board.
In this instance, sales is involved in steps 5, 9, & 14. As a seller, you’d give a great presentation, recognize a need, get along well with your contact, and assume you were ‘in.’ When you did your second presentation, you’d assume you were ‘in.’ And the rest is history.
If you used Buying Facilitation® this time waste could have been avoided for both you and your prospect. You would have begun your connection as a consultant, and on the first call helped the buyer
and done a presentation only when everyone was there, in agreement, and a full understanding of what any work would involve. It all would have taken a month or two. And then you know what they will buy, when they will buy it, who to sell it to, and how to present it.
First facilitate the entire buying decision as a Buying Facilitator/consultant, then sell. Your sales will increase by an enormous percent and you will dramatically decrease your sales cycle. Remember: buyers have to do these things anyway, with you or without you. It might as well be with you. So add some new goals and thinking, and strap on some facilitation skills to add to what you’re doing with your sales model now.
This article is a minor examination of how to facilitate the buy cycle, buying process, and of how to help buyers buy along the full route of their decision path. For a more complete examination read Dirty Little Secrets. Or call me with questions: Sharon Drew: 512-457-0246.
Sharon Drew Morgen is the author of 9 books, including NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity, and What? Did You Really Say What I Think I Heard? She has developed facilitation material for sales/change management, coaching, and listening. To learn more about her sales, decision making, and change management material, (www.dirtylittlesecretsbook.com) go to www.sharondrewmorgen.com. To learn more about her work on closing the gap between what’s said and what’s heard, go to www.didihearyou.com. Contact Sharon Drew for training, keynotes, or online programs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharon Drew is currently designing programs for coaches to Find and Keep the Ideal Client, and Lead Facilitation for Lead Generation.
Contributor: Sharon Drew Morgen
Published here on: 22-Nov-15