Selling isn’t getting any easier! Unless of course you are selling in a transactional environment, selling widgets that satisfy simple needs, and you are the lowest price vendor in the market. (In that case no need to read any further.)
In the world of B2B selling, gone are the days of getting to the decision maker, pitching your product or solution, presenting your proposal, and then utilizing gimmicky closing tactics to secure the sale. In other words, time tested sales techniques and methods don’t work the way they used to and are no longer relevant.
Yes the business environment has improved over the last several years but the process of selling, for a multitude of reasons, has become very difficult. There has been a dramatic change in purchasing behaviors. B2B customers (aka buyers) are now buying with greater caution than ever before and as a result, customers are becoming risk adverse or even worse, reluctant to make decisions.
No single decision maker wants to assume the risk of making the wrong decision. Even “C”-level decision makers are unwilling to go out on that proverbial limb to make a large purchase decision without someone, or more specifically, a team of support.
Over the last several years there has been a rise in what has been phased “consensus buying” and if you are a sales professional selling complex solutions, then you’ve got your hands full. Why, because selling complex solutions involves selling to multiple stakeholders throughout an organization. To be successful you need to be able to go High, Wide, and Deep into the account and you need to build consensus.
Building consensus does not mean unanimity of your solution. But it does take stakeholder engagement, management, and buy-in. A belief that your solution will solve the business problems and challenges they, (the individual stakeholders) face. They need to see the value in implementing change and more importantly, they need to see the value in YOU and your organization.
Consensus building involves client education, precise messaging, and controlling the sales process.
Educating clients requires teaching clients and providing unique insights about how they can best compete in the marketplace. It’s an opportunity to provide valuable perspectives, share in-depth industry knowledge, and best practices.
Precise messaging involves tailoring your message to each stakeholder across the customer’s organization. Helping them to see and realize the individual value to their line of business or specific department. Can you say ”WIFME”? (What’s in it for me) If they don’t benefit, neither will you.
Teaching and tailoring enables you, the sales person, to assert control throughout the sales interaction and process. Educating the buyer and providing ongoing advice on new issues and outcomes can overcome customer risk aversion. By helping them to navigate the various alternatives and potential land mines, you reduce the risk and gain the widespread support (aka consensus) you need to be successful.
Prospects are tired of the ‘discovery” process and those silly questions like “what keeps you up at night”. They want sales people to challenge them, to make them think, to bring them new, innovative, and creative ideas to help their business.
If you sell enterprise solutions, it’s critical to build consensus across the organization. Be different, teach, tailor, and control the process.
What are your thoughts?