I have listened to some recent conversations between b2b sales people and their customers or prospects – the people on the other end of the phone service. And, well, frankly, I have been stunned at the amount of mis-communication AND more importantly, the complexity some b2b sales people are placing on their prospects or customers.
As Charlie Brown of the Peanuts cartoons would say, “Good Grief!”
Enough of the complexity when dealing with a buyer. This is a serious issue and a serious problem for b2b sales people today. Remember you are dealing with a Totally Stressed Buyer on the other end of phone or across the table in face to face visits.
Years ago the phrase KISS was used with sales people as an acronym to Keep It Simple Stupid. The stupid part was aimed at sales people who were making things complex. Therefore, it seems we have come full cycle again. B2B Sales People need to keep things simple again.
Why keep it simple? You may ask, we sell complex solutions or technology. Great! The key to winning more often is to make it simple and support it with the details. Oh, back to subject of this paragraph – Why?People today in the buyer and decision maker positions are dealing with very unique times. We have a recovery trying to gain momentum yet there is no substantial increase in hiring. Sounds like a possible stressful situation. And, it is – especially since there have been major cuts during the past several years to deal with the downturn and a lack of sales or cash flow.
Enter the Totally Stressed Buyer. You know these people well as you depend upon their rational and focused attention to allow for your products and services to be purchased. Yet, something is not right more often than not. Rational and focused attention has not been seen in a couple of years. Other behaviors are present and the dreaded Stall is happening more often.
So how can you tell if your buyer has the dreaded Totally Stressed Buyer syndrome? Here are the six signals of the TSB syndrome…
- Bottom Line Questions
No time therefore no patience to listen to you talk about your product or service. So they ask you – “What’s Your Price?” or “Give Me Your Best Price.” All designed to move forward without any delays. Unfortunately, since little time is used to build value – the price is too high.
- Multi-tasking is the Norm
When you call or meet with this buyer, they are doing more than one thing. This is a sign of an individual doing more than one job and trying to meet too many deadlines and task objectives. These are the people who are using the phone system, cell phone and a PDA for texting, not to mention attempting to read (or delete mostly) emails stacking up in their in-box. Good luck on getting this person’s attention with a typical product dump or sales pitch.
- Demand More of You
Look out, they are ready to ask you for the moon and the planets at commodity pricing levels. The reason is they are trying to get you to take some of their burden off their backs and yes, do it while remaining under their limited budget.
- Forget Things Regularly
There is a reason you need to keep notes and remind your buyer of what promises were made or details discussed during each meeting. The buyer has too much on their plate to remember anything about conversations. This really has been a thing sales people have struggled with for as long as I have been in sales – which is a very long time! Help them out by doing two things – summarizing previous discussions and key points and then begin the new discussions with a quick summary linked to this question – “Has anything changed since our last discussion?” It is best to uncover any potential issues early in the process.
- Overly Analyze Each Offer
You must be familiar with the person who wants to analyze everything you present or say. The old paralysis by analysis is living a strong life these days. There are the behavioral types who are detailed by nature – who I call the “C – Mores” (Those of you who understand behavioral style know the meaning of the name and spelling.) However, when everyone at a company begins to get involved in analyzing your offerings – well trouble is brewing. Be ready to offer additional information – in a simple, clear and concise manner.
Here is the worst signal. It feels like the contact buyer or decision maker has gone underground. They are not returning phone calls, text messages or emails. In addition, they will not meet with you face to face or even with a teleconferencing system. So what gives? These buyers are so stressed they begin to believe if they meet or talk with you – there will be even more complexity added to their lives. They want simplicity! Honor their need for less complexity with more simplicity and a huge dose of empathy. Acknowledge their feelings of stress and being over burdened with problems and issues. The buyers and decision makers are really looking for someone to understand them and help them. Be their helper and win the account.
There you have the six signals of the Totally Stressed Buyer syndrome and a few b2b sales tips and sales techniques to deal with this current disease. Be the Doctor of B2B Selling who uses great bedside manners and help your buyer solve their issues and problems.