You’ve invested time in qualifying your deal. Now you want to move the customer through their buying process–maximizing your ability to win when they make a decision.
At this point, it’s critical to build a strong deal strategy. Without this, you’re lost.
But I’m amazed at how bad most people’s deal strategies are. They don’t understand the customer, both the organization and the individuals involved. They focus on their products and solutions, trying to demonstrate superiority over competition.
They haven’t taken the time to research, question, probe the customer.
- What’s driving the need to change?
- How did they get to this place? Is there a problem they just became aware of, did they have a major miss in achieving goals, have their customers changed, have their competitors changed?
- What happens if they don’t change?
- When do they need to have a solution in place?
- How will they justify the decision they’ve made in order to get approval from management?
- How does this effort contribute to the attainment of the overall corporate objectives?
- Who else is impacted by this decision? How are they involved? What are their roles?
- What are they looking for in a solution and why are those things important to them?
- What alternatives are they considering? What do they like about each one?
- How will they decide what to do? What’s the target date for a decision? What’s driving that target date?
- And the list goes on…..
All of this information is critical to understand how you can be most helpful and most relevant as the customer goes through their buying process.
All of this information helps you create value at every step. Understanding their point of view, what’s driving them, enables us to position what we do in the context of their business and business outcomes.
All of this keeps the focus to the customer and what they care about.
Yet, I’m constantly amazed at how few sales people ask the right questions, listen, drill down, probe, validate, and verify. Most often, they ask a minimal number of questions, make huge assumptions, hearing what they want to hear–all so they can move into pitch mode.
Too often, sales people disadvantage themselves in their deal strategies by focusing their positioning versus the competition, not on what the customer is trying to achieve.
While we focus on our competitive positioning, the customer struggles with the buying process, and solving their problem. Competitive comparisons are the least important of their concerns.
Yet we focus on the competition, not what’s most important to the customer.
There’s a simple way to build and execute winning deal strategies. It’s to focus on the customer, what they are trying to achieve, and how they are going to solve their problem. It’s what they care about, it’s what drives the highest win rates!
Brian MacIver says
Selling is a multiplayer ‘game’ [small ‘g’ indicates it’s not a proper noun] Seller/Buyer/Competitor each capable of making moves, and counter moves.
If either the Seller or the Competitor drops out, then the game continues. HOWEVER, if the buyer drops out then the game ENDS! This ‘game’ is played in the ARENA which the Buyer defines, and Dave’s Description is, in most cases, more than adequate.
It has less to do with your Product/Service Capability, and MORE to do with the depth of Need held by the Buyer.
If, you as a Seller cannot described with accuracy and authority the Buyer’s Arena, then you are destined to lose to either the Competitor who can or to No Change.
Recently, I have seen more pipeline ‘lost’ to Status Quo, than to Competitors, in High Tech/High Ticket sales. Because the sales people were unable to build, or articulate, Value sufficient to motivate the Buyer to act. We cannot ignore Competitors, but we should NEVER ignore Buyer!
David Brock says
Great to see you here again Brian, thanks for the great comment!
Greg Woodley says
nice points, you make a very similar argument to Sharon Drew-Morgen’s in her Buyer Facilitation Model. … She notes that all purchase decisions affect many parts of the business and every section will have an input into the decision. As a sales person if you don’t know ALL the ramifications and ALL the players you limit your chance of success.
David Brock says
Thanks Greg. Sharon Drew’s Buyer Facilitation Model is quite excellent. This message isn’t new to any of us, however. We’ve known for decades that in complex buying/selling processes, we have to address the requirements of multiple parts of the organization. What is surprising is that while we have known this for ages, too few sales people develop strategies to execute on this.