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Buyers have always been in control

Submitted by on Friday, 12 November 2010

I have a couple of annoyances. There are phrases popping up that sound kinda cool, but are absolutely meaningless. Or should I say, they don’t mean what they are meant to mean.

One of my annoyances is about the buying decision journey. If I read the words ‘each stage of the buyer life-cycle’ one more time I’ll scream. Everyone seems to believe they understand how buyer‘s buy. The stages? Have a need; seek a solution. Really? There are dozens of actions, decisions, and stages between ‘need’ and seeking a purchase.

BUYERS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IN CONTROL

When folks are talking about this, they really mean: “each stage of the solution-focused end of the buyer’s movements that we can track” because there is no marketing automation capability now in place to manage the entire buying decision journey. And goodness knows, we have no clue as to what’s really going on that we can’t see, like those behind-the-scenes issues that always crop up with internal politics and with old vendors.  That’s why we have no more than a 10% close rate no matter what form of sales we’re applying.

Next: What makes you think that buyers are now in control because they can peruse the net and discover a full range of choices and all the data they need to feed their curiosity? Listen up, folks: Buyers have always been in control. He or She who writes – or withholds – check is in control. Period. No check, No sale.

Oh, I know you think that because you were able to discuss features and functions (such as this) that you had some control. Or because you understood ‘need’. Or because you made nice and had a great relationship and thought that they liked you so much that they’d choose you.

But did they choose you? They liked you, liked your solution, found your solution helpful and cool. But did you know the other vendors they’re talking to? Did you know who was on the Buying Decision Team? Did you know what role their regular vendor is playing?

SOME HARD REALITY

Let’s take a hard look at this.

1. Buyers will never buy until or unless they have their entire Buying Decision Team lined up and in agreement.

Are we there when they do this? How do they get the right people on board? How do they get them to agree to a change/new vendor/new solution? We don’t have a clue. And our technology – the way it’s operating at the moment – has no way of knowing any of this. It’s a mystery to us right now.

2. Until they know what to do with their status quo so that any disruption will be managed appropriately, they won’t buy.

This is simple systems thinking. Systems (and our buyers live in teams/groups/companies – all of which are systems that follow their own unique rules) do this thing called Homeostasis: they seek balance, and won’t change until balance is assured. This is where your buyers go when they don’t buy.

3. Until all parts/pieces/people that touch the ultimate solution know how to shift, act, add, collaborate, reorganize, etc. they will not buy.

The cost of change is far too high: the fallout would damage the system. It’s ‘cheaper’ to maintain the status quo, regardless of the need.

So tell me now: what sort of control do buyers have now that they didn’t have before? They know more details about your solution and other competitive choices. They can read about more possibilities and find others who are using your solution. They are more active, more knowledgeable. They don’t need the sales person as much.

But that doesn’t mean they do their buy-in/change journey differently.

At the end of the day, until or unless the buyer gives you a check that cashes, you haven’t sold anything. She or He who writes check has control. End of discussion.

sd

Learn Buying Facilitation™ so you can take control of the relationship from early into the buying decision journey — the entire buying decision journey.

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