I read an interesting post last week. It focused on the importance for sales people aligning themselves with “What the customer is ready to do.”
On the face of it, it made a lot of sense. It really focuses on the necessity of aligning our selling process with the customer’s buying process. At each stage of their buying process, the customer has to be ready to move to their next step. If we aren’t aligned with them acting on what they are ready to do and moving to the next step, we aren’t engaging the customer effectively.
An extreme example of this is: Once the customer has defined the problem or issue they want to address, then they are ready to move on to defining their requirements. Yet if we are in there, pitching our products and asking for the order, we are not aligned with where our customer is at and what are ready to do. It creates a huge disconnect with them–or in my simple terms, it pisses them off!
So this makes sense, we know we need to align our selling activities/process with the customer buying process, helping them move as efficiently through that process as possible.
At this point, if you’ve followed me for some time, you’re waiting for the “But……” Here goes….
This is wonderful when we have enough customers ready to enter into a buying process. We clamor to find these customers, always looking for customers who recognize they have a problem they want to solve. A customer with a compelling need to buy creates visions of dollar signs and PO’s in every sales person’ mind, since we all have compelling needs to sell.
But there are some real problems with this. Too often, the customer prefers to do this on their own, engaging sales when they are 57-70% through their buying process (depending on the market data you believe). They self educate through the web and we get involved very late in the cycle. We all know the challenges with this, and we all are developing strategies to deal with these situations (hopefully they are oriented around getting involved earlier in the process).
But the biggest opportunity is “Getting the customer ready to do what they aren’t ready to do!” This is the core of what we are trying to do with Insight selling.
What we are trying to do is get the customer aware of and ready to do what they may have never considered or had been aware of. Since they have not considered it, they certainly aren’t ready to do anything about it. But we can’t let them cheat themselves, we have to engage them in understanding what they could do and what they could achieve. In our collaborative discussions (constructing insight), our goal is to move the customer from what they aren’t ready to do (or may have never considered) to creating that compelling need to change. We want them to say, “I’m ready to move, we must move, tell me what’s next!”
As a side note, we don’t want the customer to “get ready to get ready to move,” we have to get them to the point of saying “we must move.”
So how are you getting your customer ready to do what they aren’t ready to do? How are you engaging them in discovering new opportunities and preparing them to say, “we must change, what’s next, please help us get ready, please help us move forward!”