You have done an amazing job of crafting your company’s sales process. You have trained your sales force, set up your support system, and now have an army of salespeople ready to hit the market. Well done!
Here is the problem: Your prospects have not agreed to adhere to your sales process. Frankly, they could care less about your sales process. They are focused on their business.
Your salespeople have not been coached on how to handle this. They are going to start exactly where you showed them- at the start of the selling process. They will assume the prospects are on the same schedule you are. The fact is, they are not. They are on their own schedule and it has nothing to do with you.
The reason for this disconnect is that there is a Buying Process. The good news is that the buying process is predictable and with a little work, it is pretty easy to align your selling process. The bad news is, if you haven’t taught your sales team the buying process they are wasting time and feeling less effective than they should.Even the best sales process pushed by the best salesperson will fall flat if it isn't aligned to the customer's Buying Process. Click To Tweet
Lets work on fixing that, here’s how:
Your selling process likely looks something like this:
If not, call me. I can help. If it does, awesome! Let’s take a look at the Buying Process:
This is a sample. Your prospect may go through slightly different steps. I assure you though, there is a clear Buying Process. Your prospects have become smarter and more self-sufficient. They will have started the Buying Process with or without you. Their own industry knowledge and internet research has made it easy for them to get through the first few steps of the Buying Process on their own. That leaves us with three options:
- Meet them where they are. Assume you are coming in at Evaluate Proposal. Have your value prop ready, you’ll need it. Let your prospect know that you assume they’ve done research and will be providing them with information to make the decisions easier.
- Play catch up. Do some light discovery to find out where their heads are at. Be warned, if you come in at this stage and don’t acknowledge the Buying Process, your customer will assume you are a vendor, not a partner. “What’s your price?” will be one of the first questions your sales team gets. This is the customers attempt to bring you up to where they are in the Buying Process.
- Align you website and marketing to meet their needs in the first few steps of the Buying Process. Hand them the information they need to make comparisons. Make sure your marketing materials and website are about them and what they are going through, not just the stuff you offer. That will set you apart.
Anticipating the steps of the Buying Buying Process will help your salespeople match your prospects step for step. Not only will your prospect believe that you have anticipated their actions, they will appreciate how well your sales teams relate to their current state. There’s huge value in that. They will pay you extra dollars for it. Aligning yourself to the Buying Process is a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, so few salespeople are wired to think that way.
Let’s fix this disconnect right now! I’ll get you started and the good news is you already know how to do it and it won’t cost you a dime.
First, map out your customers Buying Process just like you did the sales cycle. It’s ok to just ask your customers. At this stage it’s also ok to make some educated guesses. You’ll have to take a pass at defining each step of the process.
Next, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask “What do they need in order to move the decision forward?” at this stage?
Then, combine the two processes. Lay the customer’s Buying Process on top of your selling process. It should look like this:
Last, coach your salespeople. Once you’ve developed a map for your organization, coach your salespeople on how to safely merge into the Buying Process while it is in motion. Prospect already at decision-making? Great! Help them by providing not only your info, but also your competitors. Are they already meeting with your competitors? No problem, have your value prop ready and show them how you stand out. Better yet, use this Buying Process to determine an optimum start time to begin marketing to them. Get a jump on the competition by being the first person to remind of their own upcoming decisions. Talk about setting yourself apart, holy cow! Knowing your prospect’s business as well as they do will create value and turn them into customers for life.
The reality is that too many sales processes are developed from the inside out. They rarely consider the prospect’s Buying Process. This is a miss. Customers and prospects buy when they are ready based on their own task and personal motives. We may have some influence over it, but we do not control it. Even the best sales process pushed by the best salesperson will fall flat if it isn’t aligned to the customer Buying Process.
The most effective thing you can do is help your prospect through the Buying Process and make their decisions as easy as possible. Align your sales process to that and now you have momentum that no competitor can touch.
Sales Leaders- put the finishing touches on your selling process by identifying and coaching to your prospect’s Buying Process. Make your salespeople more effective by making buying easy.
Id love to hear your thoughts on this as you begin to outline your customer’s Buying Process. Keep me posted!
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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!