3 Tactical Ways to Get Into The Buy/Think Mode
In Part One of “Think Like Your Buyer”, we identified the dual perspectives held by sales people and buyers and how they differ. Both the seller and buyer have a direction, but from the sales person’s perspective that trait may present itself as pushing information, while the buyer’s direction is about pulling information.
To execute the Buy/Think tool effectively, there are three tactical ways to increase your chances at reaching a decision quickly, preferably in your favor.
IQ: What’s on the buyer’s mind?
When your buyer wakes up first thing in the morning, what are they thinking about? What do you think their #1 priority is for the week? The Immediate Questions (IQ) Tool is a series of questions that help sales people find out what’s really important to the buyer and why they might be looking to make a change. How can anyone sell effectively if they can’t see things from the buyer’s perspective? We know the buyer came to you for a reason, but we are likely only seeing one component of their overall solution. Immediate Questions will uncover more of those components.
Remember: It’s okay to be proactive. The goal is to have enough information where you can offer real world examples of scenarios similar to theirs, so they will be able to open up and give you more information about their entire solution. This positions your value strategically over your competition.
- What is a priority for you today or this week?
- What is taking up most of your time right now?
- What project / initiative are you working on that needs to be implemented?
The goal of asking IQ’s is to strategically place the buyer into the collaborative problem solving mode. They aren’t thinking about a purchase (quite yet), they are telling you about the challenges they are facing and what problems need to be solved. Bonus IQ: Why? Behind every challenge or problem that needs to be solved is a why. Why is this a problem? Why has this bubbled up as a priority right now? Getting to the “why” gives you even more context.
DO: What Decision Options does your buyer have?
This exercise is a great way to strengthen the way you understand and communicate your value. Decision Options are three solutions you craft with your buyer. The trick here is that only one of the three solutions can include your product or service.
This is a good way to discover:
- What good non-competitive options might craft a solution
- The strengths and weaknesses of your own product / service
When you ask the buyer, “What are some other options you are investigating to address your problem?” you will be far more prepared and able to navigate the conversation in a positive way.
GAS: Great Action Steps
Now that your buyer has made a decision, how do we get them to step on the GAS? Great Action Steps are tangible ways for the buyer to adopt the new product or service. Technology is a great example because it is constantly evolving, so the learning curve can be steep. Just when you think you’ve learned how to use your smart phone, the operating system updates and you feel like you are learning all over again.
The CRM Software Story:
A small business owner named Dave had worked hard for the past five years to gain a solid database of customers and leads. He needed a solution that would help him automate messages to specific audiences within his database (e.g. some of them owned acoustic guitars, some electric… you get the idea).
Dave had tried some free email software, and had simply outgrown its capacity.
Doing an internet search brought Dave three different CRM platforms that looked like they could solve his problem.
Salesperson #1 had been with the company since its inception and was one of the engineers. He spent over an hour going deep into the details of email delivery rates, contacts, complicated campaign sequences, customer portals – it was a lot to digest and quickly became overwhelming.
Salesperson #2 didn’t ask a lot of questions and simply assumed that Dave was visiting her looking for the lowest price. She spent very little time listening, and most of her time talking about how much money Dave would save. While that may be true, Dave was looking for the best solution to solve for what he was trying to do, and he knew that may not mean the lowest price.
Salesperson #3 opened the conversation by asking some IQs: What problems are you facing this week? Using the system you have now, what is taking up most of your time? How has your current solution failed to provide you with what you need?
After listening intently to Dave and taking some notes, salesperson #3 gave him three options. One was to continue using the free software, but take a HTML coding class to get up to speed on how to customize his messages going out. There are limitations to this option, but after the training he could continue to use what he was already familiar with.
The second option would be to buy a cheaper solution, but at the expense of some key features that Dave knew he would need.
The third option was to engage with the new platform, and together they discussed how this would solve for most, if not all, of Dave’s problems as well as provide additional functionality as his business continued to grow.
Then Salesperson #3 stepped on the GAS, and offered Dave a 30-day free trial. Dave could migrate a small portion of his database over, familiarize himself with the platform, and jot down questions along the way. Dave went home feeling supported in finding a solution that was the perfect fit for his company. With this salesperson, Dave felt he had found a partner, not just someone looking to make a sale.