One thing I’m seeing more of in the marketplace today is customers or buyers rechecking their options prior to making a decision. And, in some cases even after they have decided upon one solution – they will still reexamine the facts or options prior to finalizing a deal.
How and Where did this behavioral pattern show up?
Seems this is a byproduct of our recent economic downturn. The fear of making any type of bad decision has created a safety check before buying anything. I have even noticed it happening in our office. Decisions are being second guessed and facts are being rechecked for accurate.
Seems the only way you don’t have this issue is when you have a LONG standing relationship and track record with the same buyers and the trust level is at a peak level with proven measurable performance. Then your chances of rechecking options is low.
For the rest of us, this is a new modification to the sales process. After the buyer has moved close to the final decision point and confidence is high on your part – expect the buyer to review or check their options one more time.
What is causing this recheck situation? There seems to be several reasons and here are the four most common…
- Safety and Security of Decision
This is really important in larger corporate organizations since people easily relate one bad decision equals possible downsizing or job loss. Therefore, since the fear of failure is running fast in these environments, double checking the options seems to be a natural reaction by the buyers.
- Been tricked by sales people in the past
This one is big. Since any buyer who has been around for a while has experienced the difficulties of working with a dishonest or manipulative sales person. These are usually the traditional sales people who only care about the sale – it is the buyer’s problem if it doesn’t work. This I have seen up close and personal with poor sales people (and their company) who only care about themselves. Join the ranks of the b2b sales people who actually care about the results and outcomes the customer receives. These sales people do not disappear for several years until the contract comes around for a renewal.
- Details are checked for compatibility
Sometimes during the final stages others get involved and begin to ask questions about things like compatibility to existing systems or processes, details regarding specifications and usage of the product, or raise issues never discussed by anyone else. Expect these to happen. Therefore, it is important to stay in contact with the buyer during the final phrases of the sales process to be able to answer or respond quickly to these new issues coming at the buyer.
- Uncertainty of New Relationship
This one is the hardest to recognize since it is a subjective issue. If you have not spent enough time developing a trust based relationship then expect this to happen often. Uncertainty is one of the biggest obstacles to any form of change. So, when it raises its head near the end of the end of the sales process it can derail all your efforts up to this point. You must spend time developing trust and showing the buyer you have a successful track record of delivering results and outcomes as you are projecting in your solution. Testimonials and success stories can assist you during this time period. Do it earlier in the sales process and you can avoid this issue.
Remember, the buyers of today will be stepping back into the past to verify they are making the right decision. In fact, other good sales people will be in their ear and the ears of others suggesting flaws in your product or asking questions about things never discussed which create doubt. These actions definitely lead to reexamination of the facts.
Have a plan for how you will handle this step in your sales process. Knowing the likelihood of this happening will improve your ability to handle it professionally and skillfully with every buyer.