The sales model is based on solution placement and needs assessment. Buying is a management activity. These are two different activities that can be done at various points in the buying process.
Sales models are not equipped to support the buyer’s behind-the-scenes issues and activities. This is a problem that can lead to them losing the buy-in needed to find an outside solution. They should. Because in the gap between selling and buying, we lose our customers, and they fail us.
WHAT WHILST A BUYER ACTUALLY NEED TO BUY?
We don’t need to feel a need just because we see it. They do! It doesn’t necessarily mean that prospects want it fixed or fixed by them or fixed right away. Our conversations are dominated by a bias: We believe our solution will win the day. Find the problem, then pitch the solution. Bingo. And then we wait. Wait.
A solution is the last thing that a buyer wants. Buyers don’t need to purchase anything. They just need to solve a business problem. They are forced to choose a solution to buy if they cannot solve it with a familiar resource. They don’t want to.
Buyers have a problem when they enter with a solution, even if it is not necessary. How can they solve the situation in the simplest and most cost-effective way? Because an existing resource is easier to use, it’s less work. Suppose they decide to find a new provider, and they will need to bring the solution into their culture. They don’t want to interrupt their daily routines, all things being equal.
BUYERS LIVE IN THE SYSTEMS
There is a gap between buying behavior and the selling model. Solutions are ‘things,’ and buying decisions are a management problem. Like all people, buyers live in systems that include rules, history, policies, and people. Every ‘problem’ becomes part of the system, and it develops workarounds to keep it going. We buy new clothes when we gain weight. This is because we don’t have to change our eating habits or exercise more. Every day, the system does its best to make sure that it is doing its best.
The sales model, i.e., We approach prospects using the sales model (i.e., a search for a solution and a need). They have already found a solution that is ‘good enough to the problem.
Only when the people who deal with the problem every day decide that the current solution is not good enough and they are unable to fix it using a familiar resource do they look for an external solution. They have to work, no matter how much we have sold them.
Having a NEED DOES NOT imply that you need a solution.
Selling doesn’t give us another tool for managing change. What do buyers do when they need to address internal politics or relationship issues?
What are we to do?
These are our top choices.
We wait and watch until they decide how to bring everyone together.
We wait and watch until the entire Buying Decision Team is on board;
We pitch, send data, and nurture. When they have all their ducks in a row, we hope to be there for them.
We start with a new focus: we help customers navigate their buying decision process and reduce the sales cycle.
You’d think the last option is the best. Yes, the buying facilitation skill is an add-on skill that can be used with sales to accomplish this. Let me ask since you are in a sales environment, if you consider buying facilitation skills to your sales skills.
How do you know when you should add a new skill or technique to the ones you already have?
What skills/activities/beliefs do you want to keep so anything new will not disrupt the normal functioning that you’ve become familiar with? How would you like to have something unique that doesn’t disrupt your current activities or motivation?
How do you know if buying facilitation would work for your situation? What would it take to learn/add? What would the upsides and downsides be? What would your boss/team react if you started selling differently?
What information would you need from me as a developer/seller to determine if I could provide the support you need?
It’s not all about the solution. You must be able to help buyers solve their back-end problems and place keys in order to sell well.