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Do you really understand how your buyers buy?


Guest articles > Do you really understand how your buyers buy?


by: Sharon Drew Morgen

For decades, salespeople scrunched their faces when I mentioned "how buyers buy". I heard comments like: "I know what they need." or "I understand exactly how they buy: price, price, price."

But sellers only close 7% of their prospects (and far, far less if using marketing automation).

If you understand how buyers buy, why do you have less than a 40% close rate?

Indeed, it's not enough to understand: so long as you are using the conventional sales model (and bas your interactions on placing a solution) you have no idea how your buyers travel through their buy path or who is involved. And you certainly have no way of influencing it.



Let's say you're not closing all of the sales you deserve to close. You follow many prospects and are surprised at which ones finally buy and which ones disappear. You constantly shift the dates on your pipeline because the buyers didn't close when they said they would. Things 'happen': the buyer's company is going through X, or Y decision maker is now involved, or the old vendor has shown up.... always 'something' kinda dumb, when their need obviously fits your solution.

You're suffering the same issues all sellers face: waiting, waiting, waiting for the purchase. From where you sit, it should happen any day. From where you sit, you know what's going on: you know the players, you know the old vendor and old technology, you are best friends with the buyer, you've agreed on price, and everyone is bought in.

Or is that all true.

From where I sit here's what I see:

  • you don't know on the first call who is going to buy and who will never buy;
  • on the first call you haven't taught your buyer how to put together the full Buying Decision Team or help him/her discover everyone who will touch the solution and helping them buy-in to change;
  • you're not closing all of the sales you deserve to close;
    you actually have no way of knowing if the right folks are on board at any point in the buying decision cycle;
  • your sales cycle is at least 50% longer than it needs to be;
    you are not closing half of the sales you should be closing, or finding the right prospects, or spending too much time chasing prospects who will never close;
  • you are entering the buying decision too early and attempting to place a solution before they have the proper buy-in to make a purchase, or even know the full data set of purchasing criteria.

From where I sit, you have a need for my solution. You have a need to add Buying Facilitation? to what you're already doing, so you can manage the upfront change management piece buyers must go through prior to making a purchase, close at least 40% more sales, and close in 1/2 the time. You're a prospect. You have all of the problems that my buyers exhibit and need my solution.

So your need and my solution fit. Does that make you a buyer?

You have budget constraints. You don't know how Buying Facilitation? would fit as an addition to your current sales skills. You don't have the time/money/management support to make a change. Your sales manager is concentrating on, oh.. say Closing Skills or Negotiating Techniques, and doesn't have the bandwidth to allow you to sell differently from the others. But I don't understand how you buy.



I am an outsider. The difference between what I, or anyone, can know as an outsider, and what the insiders must do/know to manage their internal politics, or get all the right people onto the Buying Decision Team, is the difference between your need, your change issues, and my solution.

The difference between what you need and how/when/if you buy is the distance between how you consider/seek Excellence, and how you envisage your status quo, and what you need to manage to be ready to make a change.

Do you have a manager that has created a selling environment based on his own sales skills and wants his team to replicate his success of long ago? Does the CEO not want to spend money - regardless of the training funds sitting in your budget (making the CEO the gatekeeper)? Does HQ want all training to come from them? Is there a training roll out happening now and there is no way you can learn anything new until the roll out is complete?

I might understand your need, and I might even know everyone on your Buying Decision Team (but I probably don't): but your buying decision issues must match the internal, idiosyncratic, unique, and personal issues that make up your status quo, and I can never, ever understand the politics, or relationships.

Stop trying to undertand. Instead, learn Buying Facilitation?. Add it to the front end of your selling skills. Learn to lead your buyers through their entire series of change management issues so they can avoid all of the delays you're watching them go through. Then you can find more, close more, close faster, and stop wasting time. And you'll know who will close, and when.


Or consider purchasing the bundleDirty Little Secrets plus my last book Buying Facilitation?: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. These books were written to be read together, as they offer the full complement of concepts to help you learn and understand Buying Facilitation? - the new skill set that gives you the ability to lead buyers through their buying decisions.

Contributor: Sharon Drew Morgen

Published here on: 23-Oct-11

Classification: Sales



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