We are going through all sorts of hand wringing and belt tightening as we look to a potential recession. We are seeing large layoffs in anticipation of growth challenges in the coming months/years. Customers are beginning to cancel projects, focusing on the most critical. Many are struggling to be optimistic about how to find and close business.
But there is huge opportunity, in spite of the uncertain outlook. It’s been staring at us for at least the past 10 years (that’s when I first started seeing data on this). But we’ve failed to address it.
By tapping into this opportunity, we have the opportunity to make our goals, and possibly to grow significantly.
And the best news is, we don’t have to prospect to find it. We don’t have to create to lead gen/demand gen programs. These are opportunities we are already working! They are deals that are already in our pipelines.
60% of committed/qualified customer buying efforts, STILL, end in No Decision Made!
These are customers that have committed to a change initiative, they have “funded” programs, yet somehow they fail to decide!
Stated differently, “our” collective growth and success, as sellers, has been the result of competing for and getting commitments from only 40% of the buying efforts customers start. And that’s funded huge success for all of us…….
But, there’s that 60%! What if we, each, set an objective to reduce that from 60% to 45%. That translates to 55% of committed deals or a potential increase of 37.5% in revenue that we haven’t captured in the past.
Of course, as customers are anticipating tougher times, some opportunities will disappear–some which they had already committed to and will be cancelling orders. Some where the status quo is OK, at least until they better understand the ramifications of the slowdown, potential recession.
But there’s still a huge amount, we are already working on, that we could capture if we better understand why customers are failing in their buying efforts.
Two primary things are happening with customers that fail to complete their buying process, realizing the improvements that caused them to start the process, in the first place.
The first isn’t surprising. 43% of those that fail to make a decision, aren’t strongly committed to changing the status quo. And with the economic uncertainties we face, that issue will continue to derail buying efforts. We need to help the customer better understand the risks of failing to change. We need to help them better understand the consequences of doing nothing. In economic downturns, those costs can skyrocket. For example, if they aren’t serving their customers as well as possible, they may cancel or stop buying. If they aren’t moving forward in improving their productivity, effectiveness, efficiency, the impact of an economic downturn may be more severe.
If we, with the customers, aren’t addressing the new risks and challenges presented by the downturn, the costs of doing nothing may be far greater than in “good” times. As a result, the urgency to change should increase!
The second reason, customers fail to make a decision, 57% of those “no decision mades,” is because of decision uncertainty. Stated differently, it’s the fear of screwing up!
In times of increased uncertainty in all aspects of business, decision uncertainty, indecision, lack of confidence, become stronger issues. We don’t reduce these by focusing on the costs of doing nothing, in fact, that exacerbates their indecision. Rather, we must focus directly on the issues that create that uncertainty. We have to focus on the issues that paralyze them, keeping them from moving forward. We have to focus on building their decision confidence.
Neither of these are addressed by continuing to pitch how great our products and companies are, that’s not what’s stopping them. It’s the business and personal risks to their success in managing an implementing a change.
Again, these concerns are magnified in times of economic uncertainty.
And, because of this, there is pressure on those 40% that have traditionally made decisions. They may, increasingly, choose to do nothing or to defer change initiatives.
Interestingly, times of economic uncertainty, create great opportunities for change. Doing nothing, hunkering down, is often the wrong strategy. We are already working on the opportunities we need to achieve our goals and drive growth. We just have to shift our focus to helping the customer work through the issues, fear, uncertainty that comes with these downturns.
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