By John Holland, CustomerCentric Selling® Chief Content Officer
When asked to name their major competitors, salespeople begin to rattle off companies they encounter on a regular basis. A survey done by Sales Benchmark Index found that when considering different vendors, 52% of the time organizations make “no decision” meaning they either decided not to move forward or that they would internally develop a solution. No decision means a number of vendors wasted time, effort and resources. Unless the buyer was just shopping to determine requirements for an internal project, no decision means they also wasted time and resources.
Human nature is such that most people resist change, so no decision happens when there aren’t compelling reasons to move forward. Based upon my experience, there are five major contributors that causes buying committees to decide not to decide:
- No goal – The seller was unable to help the buyer realize the desired business outcome they were hoping to achieve. Without gaining agreement from buyers about the desired goal (reduce costs; increase revenue; etc.) what is the likelihood money will be spent?
- No vision – The buyer could not articulate the reasons they could not achieve the desired outcome and the capabilities the vendor could provide to address the reasons.
- No champion – The seller was unable to gain access to members of the buying committee to discuss outcomes they were looking for and developing visions for them. Without access, sellers rely upon people inside the prospect organization to do the selling. If buyers don’t see personal gain in making buying decision, the dreaded split decision often results in not moving forward.
- No value – Given the economic conditions over the last several years, many vendors find buyers need to see potential savings that are 2-3 times the expenditure they are asking for. Without getting buyer estimates of potential savings and providing a cost vs. benefit funds will be hard to get.
- No plan – Many sales cycles are conducted “point to point” and drag on until they fall under their own weight. Once members of a buying committee are interested, sellers should consider negotiating written sequences of events, agreeing on the steps needed to issue a proposal. Taking this step qualifies they buyers as being serious and allows the seller to match the desired pace as the duration should be determined by when the committee wants to receive the proposal. It also allows the seller and manager to monitor progress as steps in the plan are completed.
There are few things more painful to sellers (and expensive to vendors) than going the distance and losing to no decision. While nothing in selling works all the time, addressing these five issues should enable you to reduce the times buyers decide not to decide.