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Deciding What To Buy Is Often The Easiest Part

by David Brock on February 6th, 2014

As sales people, our focus is to convince the customer to buy our solution.  We invest our time in understanding what they are trying to do, our competition, their decision-making process, and presenting a winning proposal.  We try to align ourselves with their buying process, but focus on the part where they are deciding what to buy.

Often, that’s the easiest part and the smallest part of their buying process.

There’s actually so much more they have to go through.   Most of it, if we don’t look for it, is invisible to us.  Identifying the problem or opportunity, identifying and aligning all the players in addressing that problem or opportunity, aligning their different agendas and interests, gaining management support, defining the problem, defining the needs and requirements, assessing alternatives, selecting an alternative, selling the recommended solution to management, moving through purchasing and contracting into implementation.

All this and doing their day job, as well.

When you think about it, buying is really tough!

With very complex solutions, it becomes even tougher.  Think about it, in a typical CFO’s career, how many times has she made a decision for a new financial system?  In a sales execs career, a CRM system, a CMO with marketing automation, and so on.  So overlaid onto an already difficult buying process is the fact they don’t know how to buy because they have so little experience in buying.

It’s no wonder that so many buying decisions end with No Decision Made.  It’s no wonder that buyers get frustrated with sales people, however politely, are pushing for an order.

From a sales point of view, when you look at all that’s involved, we are only participating in a very small part of their work effort.

What would happen, if we participated in more of their buying process?  What would happen if we helped them in managing the process and in helping them learn how to buy?

We want to be easy to buy from–but that’s only once a decision has been made.  What if we extended that and helped make it easier for them to buy–that is navigate the whole buying process?

We know we can create value with when the customer is deciding to buy.  We are expert as that, as our competition may be.  The value we create by engaging the customer through their entire process is magnified tremendously.

So realize deciding what to buy is the easiest part of buying, help your customer with the tough parts!

If you want to explore more on this concept, Sharon Drew Morgen is the most articulate person I know on this.  Be sure to read her blog!

Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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  1. Tamer Draz permalink

    There is another aspect of the buying process that needs more shed. It usually happens with International vendors where you can find different lines of business addressing the same customer trying to grap the buyers attention into their portion of the sales. In such cases, customers find it even more hard to decide how, where, and what to buy.

    • Tamer: It’s great to hear from you! I absolutely agree, sometimes we make it even more difficult for them to buy by having our different business units compete. That’s why it’s so important for organizations, particularly very large ones, to really design the customer buying experience from the customer’s perspective of how they want to be engaged by the company. Additionally, you will find, virtually, every time, the coverage is better at a lower cost of selling. Thanks for the great observation Tamer

  2. This is the crux of it “they don’t know how to buy because they have so little experience in buying.” With sales people we do this all day long, buyers – only a couple of times i their career. its a big deal for them.

    And if we humanize the process by getting involved with more of their buying cycle, not only will we sell more, but will have more lifetime clients. And those people are much easier to sell an additional solution to.

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