Sales Training Article: Herding Cats (Buying Committees)

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

While knowledgeable buyers present unique challenges another trend has been the increasing number of stakeholders in making buying decisions. Selling isn’t easy but when there is just one person to work with, it is far easier than having to herd a committee of 5 people through buying cycles.

Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that everyone has different agendas. While political agendas can make frustrated sellers, they exist and have to be dealt with as best sellers can. Something sellers overlook at times is that desired business outcomes vary by buyer. In my mind there should be an attempt to uncover value for as many committee members as possible.

Being successful during one-on-one conversations creates building blocks that can be used to move opportunities forward. A primary reason decisions lag and ultimately wind up in “no decisions” is that sellers fail to provide an enterprise view of the potential benefits that their offering can enable buyers to achieve.

After calling on key stakeholders sellers should consider scheduling a conference call or meeting to summarize all the areas of potential savings. With all other things being relatively equal, sellers that can get all committee members to see enterprise level benefit will likely present the most compelling cost vs. benefit. Once compelling value has been established, buyers are incented to accelerate the decision process as they realize delays mean benefits are not being realized.


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