What is the primary role of the professional salesperson? Win more business! How is that done? By getting prospects to change their buying behavior. Great salespeople know selling is a disruptive process.
Let’s look at a typical buying process for a manufacturing business. The production line needs raw material to make the product. The buyer’s responsibility is to get the raw material delivered on time. Once the buyer has invested time into selecting a supplier who continues to meet the demand, he can relax and move on to some other task. As long as production doesn’t complain the buyer is happy.
If you are the salesperson with the account, your role is to maintain the current process. Keeping the buyer and production happy is your primary duty. But let’s assume you are the great salesperson charged with unseating the current vendor. You have to practice selling is a disruptive process.
There is a legend about an executive recruiter. When asked how he gets clients to change jobs, he replied: “They don’t know how unhappy they are until they talk to me!” Great salespeople use a six step selling process to disrupt the buyer’s behavior. First they need to build rapport with the buyer so they begin to like and trust the salesperson. Then like the executive recruiter disrupt the buyer’s current process by putting them in pain. Yes, pain, all buying decisions are emotional and the strongest emotion is pain.
Create The Pain
The key to disrupt the buyer’s process is differentiation. Great salespeople know there are three possible benefits to each sale: low price, high quality, best service. But it is not practicable to provide all three. If the buyer wants the highest quality and the very best service, they will pay a higher price. When low price is desired buyers will accept lesser service or lower quality. Great salespeople ask questions to understand the buyer’s current process. They may ask them to “paint the picture” of how a perfect process would look. Or, once trust is established, discuss how the current process could be improved. That opens it up for the salesperson to disrupt the current buying process.
Think Outside The Box
Is there a way to provide lowest price, high quality and good service? Great salespeople understand their customer’s business model. They find opportunities to disrupt the current buying process.
When I worked for a safety products distributor they disrupted the buying process at large manufacturing plants. Current buying process of inventorying sufficient supplies of safety items for large numbers of workers tied up cash. Understanding the cost of inventory, the seller proposed a unique opportunity for the buyer. The seller would set up a safety store on the buyer’s site and distribute the safety products as needed to the employees. Thus the buyer only paid for an item when it was needed and minimized inventory costs. The buyer benefitted from high service, same quality products as before and was willing to pay a higher price that was less than the cost of carrying and distributing inventory.
What You Can Do Right Now
Take a look at your prospect list. How much do you know about the buying process at each one? What is the point where you can disrupt the buying process?
Are your A-list customers secure? Are there weak points your competitor can exploit?
Don Crawford & Lois Carter Crawford