Customers increasingly regret their buying decisions – that’s your opportunity!

Lost the contract with your best client? No worries.

According to new research from CEB, customers that regret their buying decisions are increasing. CEB’s research says that in over 40% of all B2B buying decisions post-purchase anxiety occurs.

That’s your opportunity!

winback

The reason for decision makers asking themselves questions like: “did we buy the right thing”, is that too many alternatives are presented to them and they’re flooded by information from too responsive sales reps, which makes customers’ buying process “awful”, customers say.

Besides that, we should look into the opportunity of customers’ post purchase anxiety and how that may turn up to be your opportunity.

Many years ago I had a sales process evaluation meeting with one of my valuable clients. We sketched their new process on the white board; Qualify to Quote to Negotiate to Close. A simple, traditional sales process which is working very well in most businesses.

oldprocess

“NO, NO !”, my client almost shouted; “You forget the most important phase”.

“Ehhh, what phase ?”, I said, slightly surprised.

“The WIN-BACK phase of course, that comes after you lost the deal.

“But if the deal is lost and contracts are signed, that shouldn’t be a sales process phase. It wouldn’t be possible to tear their contract?”, I opposed.

“Well, not really”, my client said, “but we are selling a lot more just after we lost a contract with a large existing client. That revenue are really important to our profitability, so we cannot ignore sales activities after we lost any deal”, my client explained.

So we just added the “Win-back” phase to the end of their sales process.

newprocess

But why was my client selling a lot more after they lost their big contract?

The meeting with my client was many years ago, but adding a win-back phased to their sales process was valuable even then. My client explained their newly lost client was struggling to implement the new contract with your competitor, new contact channels were to be set up, new processes were to be implemented.

Those things are not easy to fix and takes time. During this period you can become the “good guy” and with just a little more attention you may get a star status of service. All your processes are in place, all contact channels are tuned, you are in a favorable position to make them happy.

Like in a guerrilla war, you may with a very little effort make a lot revenue, until your competitor has learned how to make service excellence at your client – but that takes a while and cost them big money. If you’re great and lucky they will not succeed until next purchase round is to take place.

According to the new research I believe the reason to add the extra win-back phase now has just become more important since customers are increasingly anxious making the right decisions in a world of information overload. There are too many options, too many alternatives, too many suggestions, too much information available, too many…of everything. And it’s expected that customers’ are doing more than 57% of the entire buying process before they even get in touch with a sales rep. So they stumble, trying to get the right information, not getting any help from intrusive sales reps.

And worse, great sales reps that earlier was promoting and pitching about their specific product and features, are – nowadays – banned to make sales pitches in social media since they are just transformed to become experts, not sales reps, anymore!

Ambivalent, yes. Confused, yes. I leave that to another blog post. But if you lose, be aware of the revenue after you lose. That revenue seems to be increasing nowadays…

Good luck losing ūüėČ

 

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Being analogue take you further in sales

I’m just reading a book about the possible danger of always being connected. The innermost sentence of the book is to illustrate the importance of being offline – analogue – from time to time, in an online, digital world. More than having a sense when to disconnect and relax in these times of summer and vacations, you need to develop skills to float between being digital and analogue during your sales process, which contains elements of high pace, unexpected events and intense competition combat, just like rafting in white water.

20051009192726_rafting

The book is not in the category of business literature, but most of the book’s contents are definitely applicable in business.

The book points out that today’s standard of always being online is not necessarily good for your health. Nor in sales as well.

My thought is that if we go all-in and always use the internet, social media or e-mails for prospecting , as many sales experts nowadays are suggesting, and not feel when to switch from digital to analogue, then I think you would lose more deals.

I know, prospects are much more researching vendors online today, before they get in touch with you, leaving you offside of their buying process. The obvious answer on this has for some years now been the concept of social selling, where you’re supposed to create and nurture prospect relations. Social selling lets your prospect being able to make their investigations according to their extents, timings and relevance, without being distracted by intrusive sales people.¬†Being an expert to them, you’ll become (one of) “the man to talk to” when it comes to an eventual procurement.

Using social media and other digital tools for taking care of your first selling phase is great, but not necessarily in all phases. My feeling is that the further you raft along the white water stream, your sales process, the more analogue you have to be. Much of the job in early phases of selling is to create visibility and existence, but not to provide solutions to complex prospect problems. That belongs to the upcoming phases where insightful discussions have to take place to be competitive.

To win sales deals, you need to get to the selling phases where “talking” takes place, and need to get much deeper in your conversations than you possible can with help of digital tools, such as social media or sending e-mails. Most conversations on those type of tools are mostly too general or too public to really manage helping your prospect solve his problems, but also for you to win the deal.

The phases of talking includes physical meetings, where emotions, body language and nuances are central things that counts. Here’s where the real sales takes place, even if it’s activities often are initiated as social selling activities.

In the phases of talking, you may be able to consider in-depth relations based on feelings that unveil situations and implications you really can help to solve and put yourself ahead of your competition. BTW, did you know that we are equipped with 24 different muscles in our face, optimized to express different feelings? To translate all these expressions, you need a lot of training which is only obtainable by plenty of prospect meetings.

The tricky part may be to get the feeling of how to handle a certain activity – digital or analogue. Social media is an excellent way of getting in touch and convey prospects through early phases of why they should invest and what, but seldom how to get the business value.

My recommendation is when it comes to more detailed questions from your prospect, always consider to switch to analogue tools, by just picking up your phone and call them. Start a more detailed discussion, and try to book an on-site workshop. Further on, use the opportunity to use efficient digital tools as chats or Skype sessions for additional minor questions, but always have your eyes open when to shift being analogue again – especially when it comes to deeper discussions. These discussions require an analogue approach to develop your deal forward.

You need to learn when to switch from digital conversations to in-depth on-site activities, and maybe back again, as the white water stream flows further on. Also, when you’ve made the switch, train your skills in empathy and body language, to get the discussion to a deeper level.

Sales managers also need to look for a new skill. They should look for individuals that master the combination of being both digital and analogue, to really drive your sales processes forward, and take the rafts and deals safely down the stream.

Why Price Is Becoming Everything In Sales

In today’s rapidly changing market landscape, buying decisions are made long before any sales rep is contacted. When you’re finally are being contacted, the only question still left to¬†be answered is the one of price.

Price

My question is:¬†If you’re a sales rep, why bother spending your valuable time on building any relationship¬†if your¬†prospect already has done all evaluation beforehand and only has this single question to you?

No reason at all.

Why not just publish your pricing on your web and you get rid of that last question as well?

Perhaps, I’m starting a revolution within The Sales Community. But I’ve got this topic on my mind for so long. Now, I cannot bear it anymore; I’ve got to start this discussion.¬†My excuses if I’m tend to be¬†a bit¬†provocative.

Some time ago I was planning¬†to build a sundeck to our house.¬†I did my investigation;¬†what type of wood, construction and other materials that¬†we needed.¬†Finally I called a couple of lumberyards for prices. Lumberyards offer exactly the same goods, so pricing was the only thing to compare. I had my favorite – where I used to buy this type of stuff – so I started to call them. It was a friendly and nice conversation, but I decided to buy from¬†a completely new supplier where I hadn’t bought anything from before.

Why? The pricing difference was just a few dollars? Why was the change to a completely new supplier so easy to make, without any chance for my existing supplier to control?

I’m sure the¬†increasingly importance of price is a huge trend, and¬†it’s not just about selecting¬†local lumberyards. Look at the global brands. Ten years ago,¬†I saw major differences between brands. In phone industry¬†a great example comes from the story of¬†Nokia. Technology was more or less the same – the goods was the same – but companies like¬†Samsung or Huawei was lacking the value of a strong brand,¬†which Nokia possessed. You bought the Nokia¬†phone to belong to¬†a hip community.¬†Now, the Samsung brand is¬†one of the strongest on the market and Huawei is the¬†third largest¬†phone company¬†on the planet. Nokia¬†doesn’t even exist anymore.

Look at the Car Industry and you’ll find¬†exactly the same thing;¬†the brand image gap is decreasing very fast and it’s accelerating. KIA, the Korean car manufacturer, was some years ago considered to be cheap and deliver low quality. Today, KIA is one of the fastest growing car companies in the world. Why? Because they are still cheap but it’s brand has recovered to be much stronger diminishing the gap to premium car brands at an accelerating pace.

Another example is Microsoft’s e-mail client Outlook. Only a few years ago, it was considered to be unbeatable and any attempt to get market shares were completely unfruitful. What happened? Well, many companies are now leaving for Google cloud suites and even Windows operating system are now under fire – new Google Chromebooks are all over the marketplace.

Why? Lower price of course.

The last ten years, companies have learned their lessons. Focusing on design, marketing, efficient processes and brand have almost taken away the only weapons available for sales reps to differentiate. In a very near future there will not be any gaps left to work with at all.

The core question is; why would you pay more for exactly the same delivery?

Soon; no reason at all. For now; well, let me pick some reasons you still may come around with a higher price.

  1. Your prospect is lazy
  2. Your prospect is afraid of change
  3. The change itself is costly

Lazy.

Your prospect is not doing any great research on current available solutions and they trust you to be the one to deliver the optimal solution for them.

But the compelling question is: Are there still companies with space in their bottom line to be lazy? If you’re lucky finding them today, certainly you’re not gonna find them tomorrow. So, be aware to change your price level¬†before they are forced to be proactive and reshape their profitability.

Afraid of change.

Most companies manage risks.¬†Even if you’re promoting exactly the same goods¬†but to a lower price than all your competitors, you may lose¬†your¬†deal. That’s because the prospect sets a price on the risk. If they¬†discover any¬†higher risk doing business with you, they judge the risk within a price span, and if you exceed that span it turns out as a price of that risk.¬†That price is put on top of your proposal. If you still are lower in price, you will get the deal but if¬†not, you’ll lose.

Costly change.

In the same mindset,¬†your prospect may add a price of change on top of your¬†quote. They may have to rewrite manuals, set new routines in place, train people etc¬†when changing to your solution.¬†Nowadays, companies¬†take a¬†good look into changing costs much more than before. These¬†“internal” costs is a little harder to collect and estimate but¬†companies are¬†doing more than a guess.

The challenge is to force yourself being lowest priced solution but still earn money. You have to find other sources to get paid. You need to be innovative or you’re out. Great brand creators have followed the trails of making buyers belong to lifestyle communities, but tomorrow you can’t lean on a great brand, since low-price companies have captured and closed the gap of brand value.

You may survive for some years if you are lucky to find companies that are lazy, afraid of change or where the change itself is too costly. But why wait just to die?

Act. Now. Remember: Why pay more for exactly the same stuff?

 

 

Learn from Social Selling to make your e-mails hot

It has happened fast, the shift from using social media in your daily selling. Studies such as this from CEB and Google tells more than one-half of the sales process is gone. Or, more precisely, customers run their buying process at least 57% before they get in touch with a sales rep, in some cases much longer than that.

Conclusion: There’s not much time left to make some impact on your prospects’ decisions.

New social media techniques¬†are therefore essential for your sales success. However,¬†one part of your sales lead production is still left to be traditional, such as sending a prospecting e-mail. It may not be a great part of your sales work and it will definitely be decreasing. But you’d better not ignore it in a foreseeable future.

The challenge is though, partly because of the mentions above, it’s getting harder¬†to create sales leads from traditional methods. So what to do?

Why not turn the knowledge transfer the other way round? Why not learn from recently learned social selling skills and apply those best practise on traditional prospecting as well?

Social selling to e-mail

To do so, you need to define what elements in your social selling that are key to your success and map them to traditional selling tasks. The very best experts in this area is Barbara Giamanco. My own key elements are these five:

  • Curiosity
  • Relevance
  • Value
  • Expertise
  • Ease

Curiosity. Most of us are crazy curious about things we are interested in. You might be interested in discussions in your specific marketplace and what your competitors are doing right now. Social media lets you see what they are discussing and bother about for the moment.

Relevance. In today’s overflow of information you need to be mega relevant when you discuss things.¬†Don’t bother participate in social media discussions or write articles¬†if you’re not relevant.

Value. Only pure customer value counts in social media. Value is measured by the customer, not you.

Expertise. Customers are doing a major part of their buying process without contacting you, but they still need information. They turn to their personal contacts and relevant public information to make their decisions. In social media, it’s easier than ever¬†to be their “personal” contact and provide in depth relevant information.

Ease. In social media you cannot sell. Your¬†only “sale” is a “like”,¬†comment or an accepted invitation on LinkedIn.¬†Easy actions from prospects are connected to a sort of “cost” for them, but it’s affordable low, such as¬†“Yes, I can like this article”, “Well, I should comment on this” or “Fair enough, I can afford to be his friend or contact”.

OK, I will¬†now try to apply¬†my social selling key elements to a traditional prospecting e-mail that turns it from cold to really hot.¬†For some years now I’ve been able to test a method using¬†these social selling key elements¬†in traditional¬†prospecting e-mails¬†with extraordinary results.

In 96% of¬†the cases I’ve got contact and a booked meeting with the right people, access to¬†the decision maker and a list of people that have an impact on my sale.

My method uses both phone and e-mail, and requires three prerequisites:

  1. Cell phone number to the most top manager you can get
  2. E-mail address to the same
  3. At least one success story this top manager can relate to (a competitor to his business is ultimate)

Prepare a short manuscript for leaving a short voicemail (because he will likely not answer your call) to the top manager when you call. Don’t forget to finish with: “…I will also send you an e-mail summarizing what I’ve said for your convenience”. This is just a heads-up when the e-mail arrives and connects to your first sentence in your e-mail.

Now it’s time to compose the e-mail.

Subject line. The only purpose of the subject line is to make the¬†top manager¬†to open your e-mail and should consist of two things and in this order: Relevance + Curiosity. The part of the subject line “Heat Exchangers”¬†makes Relevance (if e-mail sent to top manager in a industrial construction company) and the part “Competitor X”¬†stimulates Curiosity (“what have they done that¬†makes relevance to¬†us…?”).

Example: Heat Exchangers to Competitor X

First sentences in Body. The first sentences in the body will do two things; connect to your voicemail and pitch Value. These first sentences are maybe the only few the top manager will read, so plan your words very carefully. The sentences have to be short and describe the value generally so the top manager easily can understand it. The value has to be relevant to his role, challenges he may struggle with and in words such as money, bottom line, etc.

Example: “I was trying to reach you earlier today but didn’t succeed, so here’s a short summary of my voicemail. As you certainly are aware of, the Challenge B has become a major concern to companies in your industry. As I mentioned in my voicemail, we’ve been working together with Competitor X and by¬†implementing our heat exchangers with our unique feature Y, Competitor X has decreased their total cost by 20% and improved their bottom line with more than 15%. I would like to discuss with you how we’ve been able to achieve these improvements related to your specific business environment”.

Middle body. This part has to be¬†written pretty complex. The reason is that when the top manager starts to read it, he may understand what it is about, but need to involve expertise to determine if it’s¬†interesting enough to spend time on. What will he do?

Yes, of course the top manager will distribute the e-mail to whom it belongs to. And this is exactly what you want!

You want other people impacting your case to be engaged. Also, when anybody later on get in touch with you it might be by forwarding your own e-mail message. If so, you can just scroll down and see all relevant names by reading cc:s etc.

The body should further explain what you’ve done at Competitor X¬†and what¬†more value they’ve got by implementing your solution. You have to show your deep expertise. But please note, I don’t encourage you to reveal competitors’ business critical details and break non-disclosure agreements.¬†Your text in the body should therefore consist of industry details that¬†the internal¬†experts or department managers¬†can relate to and judge to be true and credible, without having you to reveal secrets.

Communication should be in context of “from one expert to another”. This part of your e-mail¬†has to win those experts’ hearts.¬†They don’t easily change their minds investing in new partners or technology, because they’re not¬†embracing change and are definitely prioritizing low risk above most other things. But they¬†also are pragmatists and¬†may¬†be¬†convinced by market leaders. That’s reminds me of¬†the most excellent book in marketing strategy I know,¬†Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A Moore. It tells the higher relevance you¬†have¬†to their needs and¬†greater market leadership you may prove, the higher chance you’ll get. Maybe you’re not the well-known market leader, but nobody says how tiny¬†markets should be defined…

Finish. The finish will call for action, but in bite size. It really should be “at no cost” to further engage with you. That makes the Ease for them to engage. “Why not, a meeting with this guy only cost us the time of one hour…?”

Example: “I’d like to schedule a one hour meeting at your premises, anytime that fits your schedules¬†and of course¬†entirely unconditionally,¬†where I may further explain what we’ve done for Competitor X and other companies in your industry”. You see, you conclude your message with curiosity as well to improve your snakebite rate…

Now you have to wait. Don’t disturb the process for a while by calling them too early to follow up. My experience is that a minimum “radio silence” of three weeks are necessary for their process to execute. Think about it; there are lots of things you may¬†have set in motion¬†on the prospect’s side:¬†e-mails that have to be forwarded, internal discussions, meetings etc.

So just wait. Your social selling boosted e-mail is hopefully just getting hotter than ever.

 

 

3 stories that reveal if your sales attitude is out of date

It’s not easy to cope with all dramatic changes now happening around how to sell. High performing sales reps do, but my¬†following true stories tell¬†many¬†people within sales and SMB’s still have a long way to go before they¬†would be¬†able to compete in the future.

outofdate

Story #1

In my garden there was until recently a huge red leafed beech. It’s height was almost 60 feet and due to that we couldn’t leave it for another year. We had to take it down. In my former life I certainly was a monkey or such¬†animal, so I went out climbing up to the top, taking down one branch at a time.

One day later I was satisfied with my work. However, the¬†tree trunk was still left. I¬†scanned the internet after firms that could help me taking the trunk down. I called a few¬†local firms¬†and selected¬†one that already the coming Friday was able to finish the work. Being an experienced sales person, I appreciate if a buyer comes back to me, even if it’s just to tell me I lost the deal, so I went out texting those firms that lost my deal.

Here’s the text dialog with one of them:

Me: Sorry, but I have to¬†tell I selected another firm for the job. Thanks for your time anyhow ūüôā

The sales rep: Now you lost a lot of money! We’re always 30-40% below our competitors.

Me: (slightly sarcastic) Ooops, then it certainly was a lot of money, maybe several dollars? But you didn’t check all of my needs when you called – I wanted to get the job done already this week… By the way; care about what you’re texting – just a small tips.

The sales rep: I always stand up for what I write or say. I’ve been in business since the 90’s and last year we got 96% of all jobs in your town.

Me: (increasingly upset) Think about if I had another tree I needed to take down? Regarding your attitude, do you really think I would be contacting you again? Blaming a potential customer is not a good choice. I’ve been in sales for a long time and teach sales reps,¬†it might be a good advice to join one of my sales training classes…?

The sales rep: You should consider a training class in Foresight to earn some money!

End of story.

Lesson learned. Always accept a lost deal with a smile and a “good luck”. Look at it as a new opportunity that starts. We all know prospecting takes time and even if you lost this deal, you got in touch and next time it’s a warm call.

Story #2

This story is recently shared from my brother. He had some problems with his chainsaw (I know; you may think we are all in forestry…) and went to a retail store to get it fixed. He asked for service and the sales rep took the chainsaw into his repair shop.¬†The brand was one of those they were selling in the store and¬†the sales rep¬†promised to fix it.¬†But this was what happened next:

The sales rep: OK, I know what’s wrong,¬†we’ll fix it. By the way, where did you buy it?

My brother: (little embarrased) On the Internet…

The sales rep: ON THE INTERNET????? Just go away and take your worthless chainsaw with you! People buying things ON THE INTERNET are not welcome in my store!!!

Lesson learned. Not adjusting your attitude and business to¬†modern buying processes where customers using the internet and social media to educate themselves, buy things and compare, are just out of date. It’s a major threat for SMB’s but not aligning to reality is only stupid.¬†Such aligning¬†might be: “Great,¬†we¬†have a special offer for those buying on the internet, it’s a service agreement for¬†only 99 dollars¬†per year and I can make this included as the first repair. Would you like to fill in this form, please?”

Story #3

This story is a short one, also shared from my brother. His mower was not starting, so he called a local shop to get it fixed. However, the shop was closing at 4 PM and he knew he was a little late calling 4.05 PM:

The sales rep: (first thing saying) Do you know what time it is???

My brother: Well yes, I actually do, but I took a chance and called anyhow; and lucky me, you answered.

The sales rep: We’re closing at 4.00 PM, you cannot call later. Come back tomorrow! Then he hung up.

Lesson learned. Nothing is closed anymore. Business is always open, 24/7.¬†Opening hours¬†are restricting in itself, but here’s the worst thing about the short conversation above: The sales rep was actually¬†picking up the phone. It’s¬†not just missing the call if he didn’t answer, he also damaged his brand and that may be unrepairable.

Recognize any of these stories by your own? Do you have any more examples of¬†out of date sales attitudes? Please tell in the comment line below! Maybe we all as high performing sales reps would get a big laugh at least ūüôā

 

The hidden time slot when buying decisions are made

We all make decisions. Everyday we decide things that have an impact on our lives. Some of those decisions are buying decisions, where you interact with companies that possibly may fulfill a need you have.

Many of you recognize that a major share of the sales process has disappeared. In my post The Death of the Cold Call I visualized the three earliest phases of the sales process being invisible from the sales rep’s perspective, leaving us sales people only with two more phases to work with.

buying-process-vs-sales-process-is-changed

That’s terrifying enough. Of course you can manage the first three phases, but in a totally different way and requiring entirely new set of skills and methods. There are some really experienced advisors out there to help – one of my favorites is Barbara Giamanco – visit her blog for great tips!

But even more scaring is that I noticed a glitch also between the two remaining phases – causing you losing control in that very¬†moment you definitely don’t want to.

hidden-time-slotI call it “The Hidden Time Slot”, because it’s hidden to you and leaving customer to do his choice without your presence. The Glitch happens when you have had your sales meeting – you felt is was successful – and you did all things right. You asked all the questions; about their needs, the price level, the timings and you even got the customer giving you the list of your competitors. You are sure it was the decision maker you talked to and he also¬†gave you¬†a date for¬†his buying decision and committed to get in touch by then.

I’m just asking; are there more¬†of you out there in the sales arena,¬†except me, with experience losing such deals? I believe so, when I’m talking to my friends in sales. The sky was clear, no clouds in sight, and you still lost that damn deal!

Let’s go into the psychology in this by giving you an example from the buyer’s side. Me and my wife was looking for a new car. We thought about a slightly smaller car (children are leaving home), we needed hitch for trailer, GPS and we thought price was important, but not most. We visited several car¬†dealers, as well as where we bought our existing car.

Our existing car dealer sales rep had a great advantage since we really liked our car and we thought it would be easy for us to just change to a smaller one at the same dealer. The existing car dealer was pretty sure about the same.

I can assure you. He did all things right, but he lost the deal anyhow. Why? What exactly was the reason for us to dismiss our easiest way forward?

It wasn’t a single reason we selected another car. It was a¬†process.

Naturally, the existing car dealer asked about our alternatives – his competitors – and he was aware of their price levels. But it stopped there. What he didn’t do was trying to control beyond the buying process – where several other sales processes were running at decent pace, other than his. In my post Beyond The Buying Process I mentioned¬†the key mindset to win large¬†deals is to be your customer.¬†Understanding your customer is simply not¬†enough to be a winner in the modern sales arena.

When starting to evaluate what car we would buy, we also started¬†new sales processes at several different car dealers. They were aware of they had to step up to win this deal, since they weren’t our existing dealer. They were prepared for a battle and they were curious about us. We were impressed how fast they got to learn us; and being friends.

Maybe you think our existing car dealer wasn’t polite or missed things, wasn’t curious or…whatever. He was. He did all things right. But he didn’t make the investigation about how we think about the other dealers. He didn’t rise to the 3rd Level of Sales:

To make the customer buy, the sales rep not only has to understand the customer, he has to BE and ACT as a customer in all contexts.

That’s Beyond The Buying Process. And The Glitch РThe Hidden Slot Рis only the last checkpoint when all buying thoughts from the entire buying process comes together in a decision.

 

BTW: Sorry for using the¬†worn-out sales¬†example: “Buying a new car”, but it was simply the most recent example where a bit more detailed¬†evaluation was needed for make a good buying decision. //Stefan

 

Beyond The Buying Process

LinkedIn, what a great way of connecting to people! Just a few months ago I was just scanning my network and got one of those “say happy birthday congrats to..”. It was one of those old friends I haven’t spoke to for years. Actually, it was about fifteen years since we worked at the same company, the same sales department. I remember he was one of the sharpest brains I ever met before or until now. His name is¬†Bert-Olov Bergstrand, always called BOB.

I said “congrats” to BOB and he instantly replied by¬†picking up¬†his phone and called me. One hour later we were convinced we would be doing business together in the near future. One memory of all, still extremely sharp in my brain, came to me and I¬†typed a blog post about our method how to win very large complex sales deals – The Sales War Room.

One case BOB was leading was the win of a building supplies retail store chain, let’s just give them the¬†alias “Building Supplies”.

We had to beg to be involved in the procurement of Building Supplies new ERP system. We came in as the last one of 28 potential vendors. We were not even in their conceptual world at all. Their procurement specification was extremely functional detailed and we were not allowed to talk to them before we submitted our proposal. All vendors submitted detailed answers with a lot nice words and names, but did Building Supplies really understand?

bild1

Only 5 were invented to make a demo. But we were nominated to the final as number five!

After Building Supplies had spent time visiting four demos, they considered not to visit us – they said they’ve seen all possible solutions and it would be wasting time visiting us. Again, we had to beg them to come. And they did.

They started to shop their own items and goods¬†in a building supplies retail store we built in our own office, just for this case. All our systems we aligned to their processes and their customers’ behavior and customer experience.¬†Then we matched all their functional details to their own context; their own vocabulary.

After two hours they said we were the only ones that really understood their business. We didn’t only understand them, we WERE them.

bild2

Of course we won the multi million USD deal.

To wrap up:

Level 1:¬†Today no-one is really arguing not having a Sales Process to control a stepwise sales method. The mindset on this level is that the customer is buying aligned to the sales reps’ recommendation but not always understands what he buys.

Level 2: A few¬†sales organizations are also accepting the fact there are¬†a¬†shift where the buyers¬†are getting more power in their Buying Process. To sell on this level you have to understand your customer’s business and Buying Process

But what comes BEYOND THE BUYING PROCESS?

Level 3: To make the customer buy, the sales rep not only has to understand the customer, he has to BE and ACT as a customer in all contexts.

That’s Beyond The Buying Process.

BOB and I would be happy to uncover all secrets for your journey to this promised land where you win all complex and large deals. Stay tuned.