In as much as 95% of the cases, buyers control the buying process (at the seller’s expense). They’re calling all the shots, and most salespeople are simply along for the ride. Buyer’s instinctively maintain control of the process in order to protect themselves, in case they’re dealing with the stereotypical salesperson (that everybody hates). They’ve created these tactics to protect their leverage, maximize their discount, and control the situation to their advantage.
Just to make sure you know the prospect's rules, here they are, in the prospect's own words:
- I'll dangle the carrot in front of you, so you think there's a possibility of a really big deal.
- I won’t be totally honest with you about my situation, and withhold vital information.
- I'll pick your brain and get as much free information as I can.
- I'll decide if I want to move forward with you and under what circumstances.
- I'll shop your proposal around to see if I can get a better deal somewhere else (and I won't even say, "Thanks for your help”).
- If I don't want to talk to you, I won't return your calls.
- I'll keep you twistin' in the wind for as long as possible, if it suits my purposes.
- I won't place any value on your time.
- And, I certainly won't feel any obligation to treat you as an equal.
Conventional seller's wisdom says this is just the way things are and there’s not much I can do about it. This is the way I myself buy, so I’ll accept this as the conventional rules. No worries: I'll get my fair share of business. But that's a loser's mentality. If you want to be on the top of the heap, if you want to get more than your "fair share”, you'd better stop playing by the buyer’s rules. You'd better take charge and set the rules yourself.
At the beginning of any sales opportunity, you have a chance to suggest the "rules" to a prospect. Express your own expectations and establish the rules of engagement. Get permission to ask questions about his situation, so you can really understand his problem, how it happened, how it's impacting the company (and him personally), and to find out if it's important enough to seriously consider investing in a solution.
Tell him that you'll need to discuss budgets and how they make decisions about bringing in someone like yourself, to help with problems like this. And, explain you're not there to make a sales pitch, because it's inappropriate this early in the dialogue. Finally, tell him that if either one of you determines that there's not a fit, then that’s completely fine. We’ll agree this isn’t the right opportunity to work together and we’ll kill it.
There aren't too many good prospects that won't agree to most of these "rules”. After all, they are in his best interest too. So you really do have a choice, don't you?
Time to be honest. Look at everything in your pipeline and open opportunities you currently have. Are you currently on the bus for any of those? If you are, how do you plan to get off?
Final Thoughts for the Morning:
"It's easier to resist at the beginning than at the end."
~ Leonardo da Vinci
Updates and Reminders:
Have you registered for our Turner Time Management Technology class on Sept. 26?
Are you attending AIM/R's annual conference this week? We are! Be sure to stop by and say hello.
Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week
LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.
THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.