Successful sales processes usually have a ton of “yes”. The trouble comes when we don’t get the most important yes. The “Yes, I will buy from you”. In a lot of ways, this comes down to the buying process. You might be thinking that I’m referring to your sales process. I’m not. I’m referring to your buying process. How do people give you money? That’s the question.
You can provide value point after feature, after eye popping pie chart, and it won’t matter at all if they don’t know how to pay you. That’s one reason it’s crucial to educate your buyers on how the buying process works at your organization. This way, there are no surprises. There’s something missing from this equation though. What is your prospects buying process? How they give you money is one thing. How they shop is quite another.
Some shoppers only shop for discounts, or buy what’s on sale. Are they really getting the best value? Learning about their buying and selling processes is just as important as educating them on your buying and selling process. Surprises in your finances are a pain. Your prospects, and vendors don’t want that either. Education at every level, means everyone knows what they’re about to get into.
I’ve attended or represented a sponsor at 80+ sales/tech events in my last five years as a sales professional. Some professionals view the scanning of their badge as a challenging moment. You may have one such individual come by your booth, ask you a question or two about your product, and when you say “let me scan your badge”, they reply something like “don’t scan me yet. You don’t even know if I am qualified.” These are the same folks that come through our Drift chat and say things like “Give me pricing” right away to an SDR then immediately denying a phone call.
We (the salesperson) are thinking, “I don’t know if you’re qualified, and I don’t know anything about you or your needs.” Right? That’s what you say to us on the expo floor. These folks don’t understand that we, as sales professionals, have to earn every stage one question at a time. Getting you into our view, and into our CRM, is the first step to connecting.
The Shoppers Perspective
The customer is always right. Well, not really. Sometimes a buyer believes they can bully us into giving them an unfair price. We’ve all had that experience where a prospect will tell you they should know something by the end of the day, or week. Then they ghost you. At the end of the month, they return and say they’ve been approved for 30% less than the agreed upon price. They want us to be flexible. We start keeping score.
Other shoppers threaten to use a competitor. My response is always the same. “Oh, yeah. That’s a great company”. Look, Mr. and Mrs. Prospect, I need you to be an ideal buyer, just like you need me to be your ideal solution, right? Let’s work this thing together and stop haggling. Use the competitor. I’m here when/if it doesn’t work out. I’ll offer you the education I have had every time you need it. You’re the one that makes the decision to trust me, and ultimately buy from me. I only provide the road to that decision.
Buying and selling is a two way street. Buyers have to be informed, which they should be in today’s digital age. However, they also need to be open to learn from the people that have value to add.
Of course it’s not always like this, but we’re talking about where deals fall down and how we can mop up the missing pieces in the process to close more of them.
No Education On The Process Leads To Negative Reviews
If we don’t educate our buyers about what they will be charged for, and how often they will be charged for it, how do you think they’ll react when they see that charge come through? Not so great, of course! I’m comfortable submitting that everyone has had the experience of calling their bank and disputing a charge after being hit with something unexpected. Fun experience? Never. Your prospects want to be informed. What are they paying for? This isn’t just a product or service. What result have they invested in? If you can’t answer that question, you may want to go back to the drawing board.
Ever had your electric company or water company refuse to reimburse you after charging you for something random? Or a return that didn’t go down because “all sales are final” was written in the bottom left hand side of the receipt as small as it could be? Left a nasty taste in your mouth. Didn’t it? The trouble is, people in today’s economy will leverage their thousands of followers that they influence every day, and rip your company to shreds when it goes south.
Educating your buyers on what they get for their money is essential so that doesn’t happen. Don’t hurt your company’s brand because you were not clear with a new client. You don’t want that surprise look when they see the bill.
If you tell someone that you’ll follow up tomorrow morning, they’ll expect it. I try my very best to follow this type of expectation setting in all of my work. I don’t like the phrase “trusted advisor” because it’s become quite the buzzword, but as salespeople, we should be setting the benchmark and helping guide the prospect to the right solution (purchase, something else, whatever it is).
If we guide them on the best process to follow in order to get that outcome, we’ll have less resistance. It’s all part of the experience. No buyer wants to be strung along 5 calls and 3 demos only to find out they need some more information before they can buy… we need to make the buying process flow nicely for them.
That’s why I always set the expectation at the start and end of my calls, outlining that I’m here to talk about X and help them find out what they need in order to reach the next stage of solving their problem. Based on my experience with helping other companies with this problem, we should have X number of calls and make sure we cover these 5 key topics. That way, we can reach a solution in a streamlined way that helps everyone.
That’s A Wrap
There are a million reasons to tell your prospect at every level about the buying process that you have in store for them. I will aid in laying the groundwork for the discussion about what they get for that money exchanged. If they have no idea what to expect, how can you even meet their expectations? An SDR telling a high-level story about the buying process in place is highly effective when the Account Executive backs up that play with executing exactly how that SDR said it would go down.
A CSM consistently explaining the charges on the monthly bill, or annual renewal, complete with results from that investment, stands a much higher likelihood of earning that renewal when the time comes for that existing client to make that decision. Keeping your prospects and clients educated on how they qualify to give you payment, and what they get in exchange for that payment, makes paying you a lot less challenging. Easy is a good thing.
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