By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
If buyers could change seller behaviors, eliminating high-pressure closes would rank high on many lists. We’ve all experienced this tactic in B2C situations with sellers trying to close car sales, real estate transactions, timeshare units, etc.
In B2B situations there are other contributors that can lead to closes that pressure buyers. Sellers have personal monthly, quarterly and annual goals to meet. Even if sellers are YTD or better there can be downward pressure from management. Many sellers feel that quotes or proposals issued somehow give them the ability to close.
My contention is that buyers must be aware of the following five (5) items before sellers can close without putting undue pressure on them:
1. A vision so that they can articulate the desired business outcome(s), reasons they can’t be achieved without the offering being considered and the specific capabilities needed.
2. Proof that the proposed offerings will deliver the needed capabilities. This proof could take different forms for decision makers and lower level buyers within organizations.
3. The price of the offering and any associated expenses needed for implementation.
4. The value (cost vs. benefit) that allows them to determine payback.
5. An understanding of the terms and conditions for acquiring the offering.
Even with these bases covered, sellers should make sure the person being closed has the authority to make the buying decision. It’s amazing how often sellers try to gain commitment from buyers that can’t buy.
Pro Tip: View proposals as decision vehicles that address the 5 items in the list. Keep in mind many buyers will have or want to know how your offering and pricing compare to the competition before making buying decisions.
When buyers and sellers are aligned about timeframes for decisions, there is less tension as to when orders can be closed. The ultimate example was Y2K when even laggards had to make buying decisions that allowed adequate time to have their systems run after December 31, 1999. With this in mind, if you can learn when committees want to make decisions and deliver proposals in that timeframe you stand a much better chance you will be in alignment with your buyers.
Your probability of a successful close increases when you provide all the information needed, the buyers’ timeframe is being met and the buying decision is a logical next step in the buying process.