“Send us a hard copy” the buyer says. You smile externally but curse internally. “Really! A hard copy. In this day and age. Who does that?” Wisely, you keep your incredulity and indignation to yourself. In any case the government official that just told you that does not care! He doesn’t care that hard copy is to last century as email is to this one. You, should care that unless you send a hard copy, your proposal won’t even be looked at. So, you comply, as you should. After all, this is the procedure of how they buy. Insisting otherwise will just give you an ulcer. And it still won’t work. So, create a buyer aligned sales process to remove friction from the selling process.
In the world of sales, understanding how customers make buying decisions is paramount to achieving success. Gone are the days of traditional sales techniques that focus solely on pushing products and services. In today’s customer-centric marketplace, sales professionals need to adapt their approach to align with the way customers want to buy. By gaining a deeper understanding of the customer buying process, you can tailor your sales strategy to meet their needs and close deals more effectively. Here are three examples how you can align your selling to buyer’s processes.
1. Payment cycle
Find out when they make or process payments and align your invoicing or follow-ups accordingly. How do you find out? Ask. Yes, just ask your point person. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get that information. Besides asking, you can also observe when your payments are made. Is there a pattern? Do they tend to call you for your cheque, or do you get text notifications from your bank, on Mondays? If so, this means they likely process payments on Thursdays or Fridays, and so you should time sending your invoice earlier in the week and request to be included in that Thursday’s payment processes.
Speaking of payments, it’s useful to note that towards end month you are not a priority; salaries are, followed by any pressing tax matters. If you are lucky, you are third. More likely though, you will spill over to the following month unless you have a champion internally pushing for you. Besides, those other pressing needs taking priority, end month is also a reporting one; and so any payments (including yours) that can be withheld to show a decent financial position will be.
2. In recruitment create a buyer aligned sales process too
If you are a recruiter that just dispatches the CVs of potential recruits and await payment, you may want to work on that. Being present during the interview will give you insights that the client has never shared. Not necessarily because they are confidential, or cannot be put in writing owing to their political incorrectness, but because they simply don’t see them as anything unique or worth sharing. And yet, that thing could be the reason why they keep rejecting your proposed candidates.
So, ask the simple question: “May I be present as you interview the candidates?” ‘What if they refuse?’ you ask. Yes, it’s a mild rejection but it’s no skin off your nose. Another way of looking at it is, what if they respond with unusual surprise, saying, “Yes. Please do.” Unusual surprise because they realise that unlike other recruiters for you the relationship is a marriage, not a fling; you care!
3. Decision making process
You’ve been dealing with the HR Manager for almost a year now. She gets you the deals and sees through your payments. In the course of our interactions with the institution one day you get to meet and instantly strike a rapport with the Finance Manager. For reasons best known to yourself you now start following up payments with him, completely ignoring her. Watch out! You could have just pronounced the thorns in your hitherto rosy relationship with the HR Manager.
“Oh, hi Kageche. Yes, of course I remember you. What’s up?” the Finance Manager enthusiastically responds to your call. ‘I wanted to know about my payment.’ “Oh, that. That you will have to check with Lucy (The HR Manager) She has to approve it first.” Oops! If you are wise, you’ll instantly see and correct the error of your ways. If not, you’ll persist with, ‘Please ask her too.’ And then you will wonder why, next time you are seeking a job from Lucy, she’s suddenly cold or unavailable or her junior’s emails to you, asking you for things they’ve never asked you for, like your trading licence which you don’t have, and have never been an issue. And when Lucy does finally speak to you, in response to your quest for another deal, she sarcastically asks you to, “Check with your friend the Finance Manager.” Understand, and obey, the decision-making process.
Create a buyer aligned sales process
In today’s customer-centric world, successful selling is about understanding and adapting to the way customers want to buy. By recognizing the different stages of the customer buying journey and aligning your sales strategy accordingly, you can build stronger relationships, drive more conversions, and foster long-term customer loyalty. Remember, it’s not just about selling a product or service; it’s about helping customers achieve their goals and solving their problems. It’s about helping them make purchase decisions.
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