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THE BUY CYCLE: WHEN DOES IT START AND HOW TO INFLUENCE IT

Submitted by on Monday, 24 September 2012

Buy Cycle

BUY CYCLE

When you think about a buyer’s buy cycle, what do you consider? Are you merely focusing on how they are choosing you over the competition? Or how they will finance their purchase? I’d like to suggest that the buy cycle begins far earlier than when they are choosing a purchase.

A buying decision does not begin when buyers are deciding on your solution, but when they have an idea. And by attempting to influence a buying decision merely around your solution rather than the point when the buying decision is forming (far earlier in the buy cycle than their solution choice), you are severely limiting your closed sales.

BUY CYCLE VS SALES CYCLE

I’ve been working with the buying decision journey since 1988 when I ran my first in-house training called Facilitating Buying Decisions to KLM. Indeed, the field of sales has been a bit slow to catch up, preferring to focus on the solution placement end of the buying decision path. But this is merely the last 10% of the types of decisions and activities buyers must manage, and ignores the 90% they are doing behind-the-scenes that you could be influencing.

Here are some questions to think about:

  • Do you know what percentage of the Buying Decision Team your prospect(s) represent? Because if you are only speaking with one or two people, even your buyer doesn’t possess the full fact pattern of how, what, where, when they will buy, and their buy cycle is either unknown or irrelevant. Until everyone shows up and adds their 2 cents, the buyer will not have the full set of buying criteria.
  • Do your prospects recognize every single person or group or department that will touch the final solution? Until they bring everyone in – and they will not know this when you first connect with them even if one of the folks tells you what their buy cycle is – they cannot choose a solution or there will be disruption. In other words, until everyone says yes and offers ideas as to what they want as an end solution, there is no need to work with the buy cycle as it will be too early.
  • Can you understand all of the internal change management issues the buyers must contend with before they can buy? Does the buyer understand all of their change management issues? Until all of the people issues, policies, politics, strategic issues, historic problems and vendor issues are settles, buyers cannot buy. Their internal issues – their system – is sacrosanct.

WHEN DOES THE BUY CYCLE BEGIN?

The buy cycle starts when someone in a buyer’s organization has an idea. Then they must bring together some people, consider how efficacious the idea is, see how it will fit with what they are planning and doing, and see if they can resolve their issues internally before considering an external vendor.

If you are not helping your buyers through their entire buy cycle, you are dependent on the time it takes them to do it, putting you totally out of control until you are in a competitive situation. And, since they don’t know how disruptive your solution might be, or what they will need to address to maintain a stable environment as they make a purchase, the time it takes them to do this is the length of the sales cycle. They cannot, cannot buy until all of their ducks are in a row.

I have been teaching Buying Facilitation® for 25 years – well before the field of sales began thinking about buy cycles or buying decisions or buying decision paths. I’ve developed a scalable model to help buyers buy and written books (the best being Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it) and trained hundreds of global corporations in the art of the buying decision process.

If you’re interested in the understanding the complete buy cycle, or the buying decision path, you’ll be able to influence your buyers along the full spectrum of decision issues they must address rather than focusing merely on the last 10%. You can enter earlier, have more influence, and differentiate yourself from the competition if you help your buyers buy.

If you wish to discuss training in influencing the hidden parts of the buy cycle, contact Sharon Drew Morgen.

If you’d like to read more on the topic, go to Sharon Drew’s top ranked blog www.sharondrewmorgen.com .

THE BUY CYCLE: WHEN DOES IT START AND HOW TO INFLUENC IT

When you think about a buyer’s buy cycle, what do you consider? Are you merely focusing on how they are choosing you over the competition? Or how they will finance their purchase? I’d like to suggest that the buy cycle begins far earlier than when they are choosing a purchase.

A buying decision does not begin when your buyers are deciding on our solution, but when someone has an idea. And by limiting your desire to influence the buy cycle merely around your solution, you are severely limiting your ability to enter the buyer’s buying decision path as early as possible.

BUY CYCLE VS SALES CYCLE

I’ve been working with the buying decision journey since 1988 when I ran my first in-house training called Facilitating Buying Decisions to KLM. Indeed, the field of sales has been a bit slow to catch up, preferring to focus on the solution placement end of the buying decision path. But this is merely the last 10% of the buying decision path, and ignores the 90% they are doing behind-the-scenes that you could be influencing.

Here are some questions to think about:

  • Do you know what percentage of the Buying Decision Team your prospect(s) represent? Because if you are only speaking with one or two people, even your buyer doesn’t possess the full fact pattern of how, what, where, when they will buy, and their buy cycle is either unknown or irrelevant. Until everyone shows up and adds their 2 cents, the buyer will not have the full set of buying criteria.
  • Do your prospects recognize every single person or group or department that will touch the final solution? Until they bring everyone in – and they will not know this when you first connect with them – they cannot choose a solution or there will be disruption. In other words, until everyone says yes and offers ideas as to what they want as an end solution, there is no need to work with the buy cycle as it will be too early.
  • Can you understand all of the internal change management issues the buyers must contend with before they can buy? Does the buyer understand all of their change management issues? Until all of the people issues, policies, politics, strategic issues, historic problems and vendor issues are settles, buyers cannot buy. Their internal issues – their system – is sacrosanct.

WHEN DOES THE BUY CYCLE BEGIN?

The buy cycle starts when someone in a buyer’s organization has an idea. Then they must bring together some people, consider how efficacious the idea is, see how it will fit with what they are planning and doing, and see if they can resolve their issues internally before considering an external vendor.

If you are not helping your buyers through their entire buy cycle, you are dependent on the time it takes them to do it. And, since they don’t know how disruptive your solution might be, or what they will need to address to maintain a stable environment as they make a purchase, the time it takes them to do this is the length of the sales cycle. They cannot, cannot buy until all of their ducks are in a row.

I have been teaching Buying Facilitation® for 25 years – well before the field of sales began thinking about buy cycles or buying decisions or buying decision paths. I’ve developed a scalable model to help buyers buy and written books (the best being Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it) and trained hundreds of global corporations in the art of the buying decision process.

If you’re interested in the buy cycle, or the buying decision path, at least learn more about what’s going on instead of relegating your thinking to merely the last 10% of what the buyer does when choosing and buying a solution. You can enter earlier, have more influence, and differentiate yourself from the competition if you help your buyers buy along with your selling.

If you wish to discuss training in influencing the hidden parts of the buy cycle, contact Sharon Drew Morgen.