A good salesperson doesn’t often beat a bad buying process.
A bad buying process stacks the odds against you. They buyer believes they already know what they need, that they don’t need any additional information, that there is no insight a salesperson could have that would benefit them (at least no insight that makes it worth meeting with a salesperson before they begin their process on their own). When this is true, the buyer believes all they need to do is send out their specifications, take quotes, enter them on a spreadsheet, interview a couple of the most responsive, lowest priced providers, and decide who to buy from.
The buying process is bad because the buyer really needs to explore their needs with someone who has a wider set of experiences and the insights that can only be gained through those experiences. The buying process is also bad when the buyer refuses to meet with salespeople who could show them a new product, a new service, or a new solution that they haven’t seen but that would totally reshape their thinking. They don’t say yes to meeting requests because they don’t hear this in your request for a meeting.
As soon as you engage in this buying process, you’ve mostly already lost the opportunity. You’ve done nothing to create value through the buyer’s process. You haven’t shared your best ideas and your experiences. You haven’t helped your dream client understand their real options or the trade offs that they are going to need to make. And you haven’t differentiated yourself or your offering. You’ve also done very little to engender trust.
Once you engage transactionally, you have committed to a bad buying process. And that bad buying process is going to beat you.
If you enter into an opportunity this late, there is only one thing you can do to give yourself a fighting chance: sell your dream client on a better buying process. This means you have to ask your prospective client to go back to the discovery phase, allow you to share your insights and ideas, and reshape their idea about what the right solution needs to look like.
Otherwise, a bad buying process beats a good salesperson.
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Filed under: Buying Process