Several of my clients – and myself – have been involved in the complex sell with both good and bad results. One of the key variables regarding the “bad results” category is the number of first time buyers in this group. After doing some personal research on this topic, I discovered an interesting antidote for improving your success with first time buyers.
The key is to build massive amounts of trust before attempting to move forward in the sales process. The reason is the first time buyer has no experience to relate with during the process. They have to figure it out on their own. A daunting task for the uninformed and possibly risk averse corporate type.
In order to assist your first time buyer to make a “leap of faith” and move forward with your upcoming offer, you must engage in “non-selling” activities for building trust with this buyer. I’m talking about “moving mountains” level of trust, not your basic surface level rapport building techniques. You must use everything in your arsenal of trust building you have.
Lets get back to why this is important to you. After doing my research on this topic, I learned that several sales I lost were to first time buyers. Then, to my amazement, I learned that a large percentage of these buyers MADE NO DECISION to buy!
There were two reasons for the no decision or really the No Buy decision and neither have anything to do with price. The two reasons were…
- The Fear of the Unknown
- The Fear of Failure
These two fears are deal breakers at the highest level. They are responsible for most deal failures, yet, with the first time buyer in a complex situation they become the most common reason for a lack of buying action.
The Fear of the Unknown is just that, a fear based upon which the person or organization has no track record to compare results, process, success ratios, or payback. In their opinion, everything involved in the deal is a guess for them. There is no benchmark for relationships or probabilities of success. OUCH!
As sales people, we must be willing to take the time to educate our first time buyers on the complex – making it as simple to understand as possible. The ability to ask really good questions to get the buyer involved in the educational process is your competitive advantage. You must show experience and expertise in the delivery and implementation of this complex solution. In fact, your ability to show and PROVE your expertise in a quiet, proven and seamless implementation of your solution will be ease the burden of decision making by the first time buyer.
The Fear of Failure is one of the major roadblocks to sales success – because it is usually emotional and personal to any buyer and especially so for the first time buyer. In corporate life, any major mistake can be a career buster within the organization. The logical assumption made by fear based individuals is – it only takes one mistake or poor decision to side track or derail my business career. Therefore, inaction rules the judgment process of these individuals.
The solution is to build their self-confidence factor to offset the fail of failure. This means you must be willing to take your time and resist rushing the buyer before the buyer is ready to make a favorable decision. Sharing information – both the good and bad with a solution bias for correcting or overcoming the bad will allow confidence to build that you have done this before. Patience and proving future results using other client testimonials or show and tell programs, allows for confidence and trust in you to build over time.
After the trust bond is built, the buyer (who could be an executive or C-Level individual or committee) will be ready to “move forward” on the sales process. Notice I did not say – ready to buy. While the power closing traditional sales person has usually left the scene looking for other low hanging buyers, the true professional sales person is now aligning the buyers cycle with their sales process and is moving forward. No step of the sales process should be by-passed or skipped – unless you enjoy sales blowing up at the last minute.
In summary, realize that first time buyers in complex – never brought or used this before – situations will take longer to move forward. The key to your success is building unshakable TRUST in you, your company and your idea. (Remember a complex new thing is still only an idea in the mind of the buyer.) Then you move forward educating and proving your expertise to assist the buyer in a seamless and quiet transition to your “new” idea.