When I began to look into what buyers and decision makers actually did after I had made a sales presentation, I began to notice different types of decisions that were not the usual “yes” – we want you to start on…
Then I expanded my search for answers by observing my sales clients activities and doing some back checking after proposals or presentations were made – what was the actual decision.
After researching the actual results or decision-making process of buyers, I found four types of negative buying decisions. I want to share these four negative decision patterns with you so you can effectively prepare counters to these actions during your sales process. (That means before you make a sales presentation.)
So, here are the four negative buying decision patterns…
They Buy from Someone Else Okay, this one I can live with most of the time since a real decision was made and the competition must have made a superior offer to mine – probably one I would not want to beat due to lack of profitability or something else of lesser value. However, the key point here is to learn what factors made the buyer choose the competitor. I must learn these factors to catch trends or competitor strategies early to develop counter strategies. Also, this gives me insight into the buyer influences of this customer for future reference.
Use Internal Resources More likely to happen to those of you selling professional services rather than a hard and tangible product. Yet, I have seen situations where a holding company has purchased a manufacturing group and chooses to produce the product internally using a sister company or subsidiary company. The internal product sale is harder to overcome. However, the service side is usually a factor of two forces:?1. Value was not raised enough to show the decision maker a higher ROI using your solution. -or-?2. You gave too much of the process away during your presentation and some internal person advised the decision maker they could do it using the process you outlined and save the company the investment. This tactic usually gets the first shot and then after a less than successful rollout due to poor expertise – you get a call to come in and fix it. It is your call whether to come back in at this moment.
Use Budget for Something Else During these stubborn economic times, this tactic is used more often than I would like to see. Here is usually a company directive to move funding from one area to another area (similar to politicians who move taxpayers money to their favorite pork barrel project rather than where it is truly needed.). The best method to counter this type of decision is two-fold – one is if you have developed a great relationship with the decision maker you can get the information early and attempt to offer counter measures. And two, the best and most effective counter measure is to show a huge ROI on your offer or solution. It is hard to pass on an excellent ROI – especially for the bean counter types.
Do Nothing These are the worst of the types. In most cases there are no reasons, logic or explanations – only a “do nothing” decision. I have found through my research two factors influencing this type of behavior by the decision makers. One, they do not have good decision making skills and actually see “no decision” as the best choice. And, two, they prefer to make NO controversial decisions since they want to be friends with everyone in the company. The “do nothing” gang are the ones I want to avoid. Look for people and contacts that take personal pride in being active within their company. This people have passion about their performance and know decisions are the lifeblood of effectiveness. Find the active decision makers inside the prospect or customer account and it will save you time in the long run.
Do research on your own customer and prospect accounts, especially the areas where you gave a proposal or sales presentation and you did not or have not received any feedback. Find out what has happened and if it was a negative result learn what factors pushed the decision in that direction.
Remember, a sale is a process. Everything you do as a b2b sales person is a process. Therefore, cause and effect relationships are constantly happening and your job is to monitor these cause and effect relationships all the time. By knowing the true cause and effect relationship of your sales processes, you will know more about how to improve and gain more sales success than your competitors – who could be lazy and reactionary.
Take advantage of all learning opportunities to gain the competitive edge.