Want a competitive advantage? Meet your customers where they are…

Went to lunch last week, here’s the powerful and likely profitable moment I watched as I ate.

Two food counters sat next to each other. Both were mid tier, one step above fast food with average orders around $12-15 per person, who would order and then sit in the food court area to eat. Both had similar food, sandwiches, salads, hot and cold food options. both had the same size locations and both were staffed with approximately the same number of people. I also have to say that both places seemed to have very friendly, outgoing employees.

I made my choice of restaurant, ordered my food, and sat down waiting for my number to be called. Then I watched.

Restaurant A had a person positioned out front offering samples of food and handing a coupon to anyone he engaged. He was fun to watch- he was friendly without invading personal space, greeted everyone who walked by, and would occasionally would call out that he had delicious samples to offer.

Restaurant B had a guy behind the counter that also was offering samples. He was very friendly, made good eye contact, had good food to offer, he moved around a lot, and even sang a few bars to accompany the overhead mall music.

Now- here’s the deal- I was eating a late lunch, about 2:15. So, the place wasn’t exactly bustling. I sat there for about 25 minutes from order to finishing my food.

Restaurant A had 9 people order. Restaurant B had 2 people order. Now it’s fair to say that preference of brand may have played a role here. However, I watched it…Restaurant A won because they were where their prospects were. Restaurant B never came out from behind the counter. B needed to have customers come to him before he could really engage. Guy A met them where they were, gave them a sample, then said something like “not sure what your food plans were, but we’re offering a coupon for the sandwich you just tried and a couple others….here, let me show what’s available…” It was so simple and brilliant and more importantly, it got results.

So, here’s the food for thought….Get out from behind the barrier and go to where your prospects are.

Now, Im not suggesting a total reboot of your marketing strategy here. I would not condone you hitting the bricks all over your market, passing out samples and just hoping for the best. That’s reckless. However, if there is a time that’s appropriate for you to give out samples, for you to do face to face marketing, or for you to really try and engage a prospect make sure you have removed any barriers before you do it.

This week, look for chances to step out from behind your desk, your counter, your social media feed, or your marketing automation plan and make a connection. You might be surprised at the difference it makes.

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

The Thing That Makes Your Buyer Buy:

Blog 7 in a series of 7. 

As sales professionals wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get insight into why people buy? How wonderful would it be if you knew what made your prospect actually purchase?  Likely, you’d be closing more deals and be far more effective than you are today, right? 

Over the last few weeks we have been discussing the six sales imperatives- Things that simply don’t change because in sales because they are so important to customers. This week’s is dedicated to understanding why buyers buy. Knowing about personal buying motives and what compels people to make purchasing decisions is critical to the success of salespeople. 

The thing that will make your buyer buy. 

Why do buyers buy? It’s an age-old question with a surprisingly simple answer. Buyers buy primarily with the idea that whatever they are buying is going to help their business. They could be trying to increase revenues, reduce costs, increase quality or reduce effort all in the attempt to increase profitability. Often just as important in the buying decision is a buyer’s personal motives…. that’s right, a personal motive in business. It’s true! In fact, every purchase is made with both a task (business) and personal motive. 

In the majority of cases, salespeople miss the personal motive. They don’t ask about it, they don’t feel its relevant, and some even think it’s a waste of time. That’s a shame. It’s a real miss. Although, I guess it is an opportunity for the rest of us to gain a competitive edge. 

So, you might ask…are you sure there is a personal motive in every deal? Yes, I am. In fact, if you ever come across a deal without a personal motive, I’d say you are in one of two situations: 1) It’s a transactional, commodity type sale. 2) You are dealing with someone that is not actually a decision maker. They have been tasked by someone else. 

Personal motives make sense and they are an amazingly powerful part of the deal. They make sense because we see examples of personal motives in everything we purchase in our personal lives. Think about any major purchase you’ve made- car, appliance, technology…. any of them have a range of options and price ranges. We’ll use a washer/dryer for an example. They serve a very basic purpose- Clean and dry clothes. (Task motive) That said, there is a wide range of pricing. You could scour ads for a used set and get out of it for a couple hundred bucks. If you have money to burn Miele offers a commercial grade pair for $41k. (Free shipping though, so there’s that.)  The majority of when that washer is purchased and where it falls on the price spectrum is determined by personal motives. That’s what makes personal motives so powerful. If you can uncover them and then appeal to them you have a driver that will help you close faster, better predict when things will close, and will even have a positive impact on your pricing. 

There are 4 personal motives. Power, respect, approval, and recognition. Reach out if you’d like more information on how these motives might apply to different buyer types. For now, let’s focus on how to uncover them. 

You have to ask. It starts by doing thorough discovery. Take a look at your discovery questions from your last few sales calls. I bet they centered around who, how much, when, cost…That is all great information to have but it only serves the task motives. On your next call try adding in:

  • Tell me about the impact of this change on you or your team? 
  • How do you feel about it? 
  • What’s driving the decision on your side? 
  • What’s the impact to you if we don’t move forward?
  • How do you see this being a benefit to the team?
  • How are you feeling about the process change?

Obviously, these questions have to be put in the context of what you sell and your specific customer needs, but the point is- you have to ask them if you are going to uncover the personal motives. 

Once those personal motives are uncovered, you’ll use them in advocation to help gently nudge your prospect into the purchase that is right for them and at a time they feel good about. When done well, they will be as comfortable working with you as they are when they pull that fresh clean shirt right out of the dryer. 

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

Want To Sell More? Help Them Buy. Here’s How to Get Started:

You represented yourself and your product/ service well. The prospect wants it. They told you they need it. You know they can benefit from it. You bragged about this one being a slam dunk in last couple pipeline reviews.

Now, the prospect has gone dark. Your estimated close date has come and gone (twice). What the heck? You know your sales manager is gonna ask about it next review period. What could you have done about it? Where did it go wrong? Great questions to ask. However, there’s a chance it wasn’t you. Read on:

Blog 6 of 7

Over the last few weeks we have been discussing the six sales imperatives- Things that simply don’t change because in sales because they are so important to customers. This week’s is dedicated to learning why we must help buyers buy. Just selling to them is not enough. Unfortunately, internal complexity, matrix management, and more collaborative workplaces have changed the way people buy. It changes the way people get approval to buy. If you are unclear about the hoops your prospects must go through in order to make an approved purchasing decision there may be a whole bunch of ‘behind the scenes’ blockers you aren’t even thinking about. If you want to make that sale, you’ll have to help your prospect navigate their own internal buying process.

A recent study by CEB (now Gartner) showed that the average number of buyers involved in a sale went from 5.4 in 2015 to 6.8 in 2018. If you’re in B2B sales, you’ve probably experienced this trend, much to your chagrin. Not only does selling to a team take longer, but it’s more likely to stall out and end in no decision. 

If bringing others in is likely to delay a company’s initiative–or worse, stop it in its tracks–why would your prospect involve others at all? You might think your prospect would be motivated to push through a purchase on their own. Why the increase in team buying? 

Never lose alone. Making a large investment of company dollars is risky. If the initiative fails, your prospect doesn’t want to be the one holding the bag by alone. It’s easy to fire one person, but it’s not easy to fire the entire team of leaders that collectively made a bad decision. Safety in numbers.  

Another reason for involving others is to increase the likelihood that the initiative will succeed once the purchase has been made. If a decision is made by  a single leader, but it impacts many departments, the others will likely feel like the change was thrust upon them. They are more likely to be resistant, or prioritize that decision behind the initiatives and purchases they were pursuing on their own. 

What does this mean to you?

Oftentimes purchases are delayed because the person that first sets out to find the solution doesn’t know who should and should not be involved. They may invite peers into the process, even if the initiative only has tangential impact on their departments. 

Another reason the deal slows or stalls out is because an entire group has a hard time coming to consensus. It’s easy to agree to not move forward. It’s difficult to agree to making an investment. 

Chances are this could be a new team, and they are purchasing this service for the first time. Do they all agree now is the time? What must be in place for it to be a go? What happens internally once your prospect makes a decision? Who else must see it? What are deal-breakers for each stakeholder? What features are must-haves versus nice-to-haves? Can you help them come to agreement about how they come to agreement? 

To truly be a trusted advisor, this is a valuable place to advise. You know your product and the stakeholders that should be involved in the buying decision. You know which departments and roles will be impacted by making this change. You can help them bring the right team together. 

Whether they decide on you, a competitor, or working with what they’ve got, they need to agree, believe in it enough to move forward, and to hold themselves and each other accountable. Look for ways to offer help and advice. Remember, you are the pro here. You’ve seen many of these deals. You likely already have valuable insight that can help your prospect buy. Call them and offer it up. Maybe then you’ll have some good news to share in your next pipeline review.

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!