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The Truth About Buyers

Buyers are researching your product, or service, or solution and have already made a list of sales organizations they are going to consider.

Buyers are too busy to be bothered with salespeople because they already have as much information as the salesperson. Salespeople aren’t so valuable.

Buyers prefer to be warmed up over email and social channels before they will accept a telephone call from a salesperson.

Buyers don’t know what they don’t know and they need someone to teach them and disrupt their thinking to help them produce better business results.

Then There Is This

Buyers don’t have time to research what they need to buy. They’re too busy to even look up, and they need a salesperson to help them understand their needs.

Buyers need a salesperson with business acumen and deep situational knowledge to help them understand the range of choices available to them and the necessary trade-offs involved with those choices. Salespeople create massive value.

Buyers are okay being interrupted when that interruption creates value for them. They see attempts to warm them up as the real nuisance.

Buyers have bought what you sell before, know what they need to produce better results, and need someone to help them get what they need. They don’t need to be taught what they don’t know.

The problem with describing “the” buyer is that there isn’t one. There are many. All generalizations are lies. You take your prospective clients as you find them.


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This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.


Comments

comments

  • http://blogs.richardson.com/ Mike Kunkle

    Anthony, as someone who writes about changing buying behavior (and has recently), this made me think – so thanks. I’ll share an excerpt of something I wrote once, on a more personal level.

    “I have to remind myself of two things, frequently. One, the world is an ugly and cruel place, people do horrible things, and you have to be very careful. Two, the world is a beautiful and benevolent place, people do wonderfully compassionate things, and you have to take risks and trust others.”

    I share that to let you know I get where you’re coming from (or I believe I do).

    Your attitude, mindset, and how you choose to respond to situations shapes the outcome and your perception of the journey (and keeps you from becoming paralyzed by fear). Generalizations and averages are never as right as specifics and individualization. All true.

    None of that, however, changes the ability to generalize human behavior (social mores, memes, behavioral economics, herd behavior, statistically predictive behavior, etc), which is based on observed behaviors (without assigning judgments to them). Sociologists, behavioral economists, researchers and statisticians certainly can group and classify human behavior (such as the CEB stating, from research, that buyers pretty consistently reach out to suppliers much later in their buying process). There is no doubt that buying behavior has changed, generally. (And I’m confident that neither of us buy cars the same way now as we did in the late eighties.) That doesn’t mean it’s changed for Bob Jones, the buyer at ACME, or that Jim Smith at Roadrunner Sales can’t think and act like the rep in the second half of your post.

    So, there are problems with generalizations, yes. But there are problems with not paying attention to shifts in behavior, like buying behavior, and responding appropriately to those changes. Because without that, many wouldn’t be working so hard to develop business acumen, prepare based on the client’s situation, disrupt buyer patterns with insights, create and communicate value, solve problems, and enjoy the buyer reactions in the second half of your post.

    That’s the big takeaway, for me. Buying behavior has changed. And, we as sales professionals need to respond appropriately, in attitude, word and deed, to not be paralyzed by fear or negatively impacted by the changes.

  • The Responsive Edge

    “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” ~Henry Ford

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