In large account and major account selling, many sales people misunderstand what their real obstacle for both the buyer and the sales person. The big issue or rock standing in the path of a successful sales process is uncertainty. Now some people want to debate this issue and that is their right.
However, research and observation has determined the real issue is uncertainty. So what is this “uncertainty all about in the eyes of the buyer – prospect or customer – it is the same for both.
The real issue is they have nothing to compare results or performance with to determine either a ROI or a payback period. And why do they have nothing to compare? They have never brought your solution, so they have NO experience or expertise. They must figure it out on their own – particularly if the sales person is not aware or is too busy pushing their solution or ideas.
That is the rub for the customer or prospect, the sales person is not focused upon them seeing the big picture. Usually this first time purchase is a totally new concept or solution to their method or way of doing business. It may involve a major investment, large debt, change in processes, change in personnel, and the need for totally new competencies for personnel to master.
All the items listed above are “game changers” and involve high risk for both the company (investment dollars, new processes, layoffs or upgrading of personnel) and the individual making the decision (fear of loss of their job, career killer, loss of promotions or bonuses, peer pressures and being the target for a bad decision.) These factors create a huge gap or obstacle for moving a sales process forward.
Game changes create high risk for everyone and the lack of expertise and understanding of the process and the impacts of successful performance are in the “uncertain zone.” The uncertain zone creates hesitation and stall tactics on the part of the buyers. No one wants to take unnecessary risks – it could cost them their jobs.
So, how does the superstar sales person deal with this issue?
The superstar works very hard at educating the prospect or customer. The key is to provide success stories with similar organizations or situations as the customer company. If possible, take the key decision makers to other customers sites for a tour and current user testimonials. Offer a conference call or video conference will other customers who had success with your solutions. Have the current users talk about any issues their had and how your company solved their problems.
The more you can do to educate the prospect or customer on the merits and success of your solution, the faster you will get to sales success. If you do nothing but a typical sales presentation with little educational and proof of your solutions success, you limit your possibilities for success.
In summary, if your customer or prospect has no experience, expertise or knowledge of your offering, then their belief about your solution is limited and their fear of risk is high. Your job is to educate and prove your solution will work using as many sources as possible. Even with the sharing of expertise, the customer may still believe it is too risky to change things. Be prepared to deal with these fears head on or you will surely loss the sale opportunity. Also, your bonus is these first time buyers will become long term customers and help you make more sales in the future.
Happy hunting for these first time buyer opportunities, they are game changers for your success too.