When buying decisions have wide impact on an organization, in most cases it’s not simply one person’s decision. You might know who the ultimate decision maker is, but do you know who they’ll be consulting with in the organization? How many stakeholders have the ear of Mr. “The Buck Stop Here”? Of course you want the client to buy, but more importantly you want real success. Real success isn’t just getting the PO; it’s getting everyone in the organization buying into the value of what that stroke of the pen is bringing through the doors.
Just knowing your products features and benefits, and being able to overcome every objection in the books isn’t a good enough game plan anymore. It’s not how to be a top performer for sure. Ask yourself, how well do you know the market your client is operating in? You really need to become an expert about every aspect of their business. Your product or service will potentially touch a lot of different people in the organization. For every touch point in the organization you need to be prepared for a different conversation. Remember each different department speaks their own special language. You need to talk their talk.
Be prepared to deal with clients who are smarter than you. They’ve done their homework; have you done yours? The success of their business depends more than ever on minimizing big mistakes.
According to Harvard Business Review: The End of Solution Sales, a recent Corporate Executive Board study of more than 1,400 B2B customers found that those customers completed, on average, nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision—researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on—before even having a conversation with a supplier. In this world the celebrated “solution sales rep” can be more of an annoyance than an asset.
Good clients have a lot of the information they need, so it’s imperative you’re well informed too.
- Get a deep understanding of their org chart.
- Get insight on their last big implementation or capital purchase. How has that worked?
- Get perspective on the last big project went off the rails. Why? What’s it cost them?
Information is good, but being able to use it in everyone’s best interest is the key differentiator. Being a difference makers open more doors, and gives you access to the most important resources – you will find the organization influencers. It’s the influencers who are respected. They’re the go to people for advice and words of wisdom. The influencers aren’t just talkers, they’re doers. Win over the influencers, and you will win more business.
Fall down seven times. Stand up eight. -Japanese proverb