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The Buyer’s Buying Journey – Podcast 2: Keeping Sellers Relevant

Submitted by on Tuesday, 23 November 2010

There are two aspects to a buyer’s journey as they consider a solution purchase:

1. getting internal buy-in from colleagues, bosses, and budgets to decide to make a change, figuring out how or what will be included in the change, and agreeing how to move forward;

2. choosing a solution and vendor.

In today’s buying decision journey, technology is beginning to ably handle the solution choice: Since sales focuses on the needs analysis and solution choice end of the buying decision, it’s easy-enough for the process of selection and information-gathering to be co-opted by the web.

That leaves the seller not meeting quotas, not involved until the very end after many of the decisions have been made, and not using their talents as purveyors of industry knowledge. Sellers are not entering the buying decision journey early enough, are too often reduced to order takers.

WHAT’S A SELLER TO DO?

The choices are:

  • have many sellers leave the profession as there just isn’t going to be enough work;
  • have sellers play musical chairs as they get fired/hired/fired/hired etc.;
  • learn new skills to change the sales job to better accommodate the front-end of the buyer’s buying decision journey.

About 20 years ago, I wrote a column for Telemarketing Magazine. I had written a book called Sales on the Line in which I introduced Buying Facilitation™ as a sales tool for the phone. In the book I told telemarketers that unless they used their brief phone time helping prospects navigate through their decision issues quickly (i.e. “Hi, Mrs. Jones. Is this a good time to speak? I’m selling magazines. I’m wondering how you are currently choosing to add new subscriptions to the ones you already have?”), they would be out of business.

The editor of Telemarketing loved my stuff. Of the 4 telemarketing magazines on the market in those days, he (Robert – forgot his last name) was the only one who thought my ideas were print-worthy. I yelled and cajoled and begged and offered and wrote and taught. I said, over and over and over: If you don’t change your ways, you won’t be in business in 10 years. Few listened.

OK. I was right. Now I’m going to say that again to the sales field: If you don’t shift your jobs to managing the entire buying decision journey – not just that end that is concerned with the solution purchase – you won’t have a job. As we speak, I know of 2 tech companies working very hard on creating a Q&A capability for a piece of software to replicate a buyer-seller conversation.

ENTER THE BUYING DECISION JOURNEY EARLIER

Now is the time. Get ahead of the curve. Learn Buying Facilitation™. Read Dirty Little Secrets and Buying Facilitation™. Take the Guided Study program or training with me, or get the Modules. But add this new skill to what you’re doing, and

  • get onto the Buying Decision Team on the first call;
  • become necessary for buyers as a consultant who can be a real asset during the early parts of the buying journey;
  • use your skills and industry knowledge to truly become servant leaders to your buyers.

I’m not talking about choosing a solution or vendor – they can use the net for that. I’m talking about a change management skill set: to help them bring together the people, the decisions, the policies, the tech solutions, the partners, the buy-in/resistance issues, so they can quickly, effectively, make a solution choice – with you on their decision team and then, naturally, their provider.

Here is my 2nd podcast in the series: Keeping Sellers Relevant. This one explains the buyer’s journey. Enjoy. And please, take this to heart.

Previous: Podcast 1 | Next: Podcast 3

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Here are chapters from Dirty Little Secrets to better understand how Buying Facilitation™ helps buyers decide.

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