Align With the Prospect's Buying Processes for Sales Excellence
Once we clearly understand the main stages of a prospect’s buying process, and we are aware of the stages that we go through in our selling process, we can then work to align the two throughout the sales cycle to drive sales excellence.
Below are some examples of how to align the buying and selling processes:
1. Buyer – Satisfaction / Seller – Farmer: When you call a prospect and they say they are not interested, not looking to change, or do not have money, they are in the Satisfaction stage. At this point, it is time to farm and this involves planting seeds that can grow into interest and into an opportunity. Be a Farmer and work to get introduction conversations, periodically check in, and send emails dripping information to the prospect with interesting news articles, events, reports, etc.
2. Buyer – Change / Seller - Student: As a prospect begins to acknowledge that there could be a benefit from making a change, it is time to be a Student. This is where the focus is on learning about the prospect. Typical things to learn about are what is working, what is not working, what is the impact of not making any changes, what are the benefits of making improvements, what is the decision making process, etc.
3. Buyer – Discontent / Seller - Doctor: After you have collected information and learned about the prospect, it is time to be a Doctor and help provide a diagnosis of the issues and potential solutions that could help them.
4. Buyer – Research / Seller - Architect: Once the buyer acknowledges challenges and interest pursuing improvements, it is time to be an Architect and work with them to design the right solution. In this stage, you will be an Architect and work directly with the prospect to design what “good” or the “ideal solution” looks like. For sales excellence, it is key for the prospect is involved as much as possible in this stage.
5. Buyer – Comparison / Seller - Coach: The buyer will likely compare different options when they progress closer to making a decision. At this point, you will want to be a Coach and help them to consider all of the factors to consider. Being as unbiased at this point will help to build rapport and credibility and drive sales excellence.
6. Buyer – Fear / Seller - Therapist: It is likely that buyer will experience some fear from the risks of not making the right decision. At this point, it can be helpful to be play the role of Therapist and be there for the prospect and help them deal with any anxiety from buying.
7. Buyer – Commitment / Seller - Negotiator: As the process evolves toward a commitment and transaction, the selling process will move on to the Negotiator where you will work to make sure the agreement is a win/win for both parties.
8. Buyer – Expectation / Seller - Teacher: The selling process does not stop after the purchase is made. You should then be a Teacher and work to teach the prospect on what they have bought and how to best use it. Your goal in this stage is to help them get the most out of what they have purchased so, not only do they come back to you to purchase again, but they also refer their friends and family, which will have a great bonus effect on sales excellence.
The power of driving sales excellence from this concept comes when you use this as a map throughout the sales cycle to determine what to do and how to communicate with the prospect. For example, in the very first meeting you can identify what stage the buyer is in and then go to the corresponding stage on the selling side. From there, you can then progress through the selling stages as the buyer progresses. Or you could push the buyer either forward or back through their stages if that strengthens your position.