Ever hear these buyer resistance comments? “We are doing just fine.” “Our current vendor is performing well.” “Now is not the time to make a change.” Or a hundred other put offs the buyer uses.
The Need To Break Through Buyer Resistance Thinking
Thomas Williams and Thomas Saine (Tom&Tom for short) in their book “The Seller’s Challenge” recommend using Insight-Driven conversations. These conversations open the recalcitrant buyer’s mind to the potential of change. Great salespeople use facts and historical successes presented as an alternative way of looking at the current situation. These insight-driven conversations gently open the way for the great salesperson to overcome buyer resistance.
An Example Of Overcoming Buyer Resistance
When I worked for a safety products distributor, a railroad company sent a letter asking for a 5% reduction in price. The buyer there considered earplugs, gloves, hard hats and other safety products commodities and sought vendors to compete on price. Good for the buyer, not so good for the seller. Using insight-driven selling, our sales team moved the conversation from commodity pricing to reducing workplace injuries. The national accounts manager asked about the most common injury and found out it was employees being struck by trains in switching yards at night. Lost time and medical costs were significant. So, knowing this was a “pain point” for the safety manager, the national sales manager offered a solution of supplying custom designed highly reflective clothing. By making the employees highly visible, workplace injuries dropped. And the buyer’s mindset was changed from “low price commodity” to “concerned, helpful vendor”.
How Does It Work?
According to Tom&Tom, insight-driven conversations include:
- Create Curiosity – a statement to make the buyer curious enough to join the conversation
- Teach – a lesson which matches a buyer’s concern to your strength
- Share The Pain – show empathy by identifying a threat or negative outcome
- Show Contrast – take issue with the status quo and offer a solution
- Invite Collaboration – ask open ended question to find out buyer’s viewpoint and encourage dialog
- Provide Proof – use history of success with other companies to validate your claim
By using inclusive language and open-ended questions, great salespeople overcome buyer resistance. They realize that insight-driven selling is not a linear, step-by-step process. It includes all the elements but great salespeople know when to engage each element and when to switch to another to overcome buyer resistance.
What You Can Do Right Now
Think about all the “excuses” buyers use to put you off.
For each excuse you regularly hear, write as many ideas as you can for each of the six elements to overcome buyer resistance above.
Practice including them in your sales conversations to create “pain” in the buyer.
Make sure you rehearse so the ideas are natural, not scripted. Great salespeople listen to the buyer and move the conversation toward the outcome they are looking for.
Don Crawford & Lois Carter Crawford