In my post yesterday I wrote about how weak sales people – and there was a time I was one of them – avoid asking the customers on what other options they are considering during the sale. Since they are weak sales people their prospect base is generally way behind their target so they are hoping against hope that the customer will not consider any other option and only buy from them.
A mature sales person knows that time is her most precious commodity, so she doesn’t want to waste time on unnecessary accounts. She matches the accounts which she thinks are the ideal customers for her service offerings. She doesn’t try to waste time on accounts where the match is difficult, if not impossible.
A B2B sale will generally always have multiple rounds of interactions. Today most prospects do their research before meeting with the sales people of companies they want to meet. So as a sales person your responsibility is to understand what’s in their mind and also to challenge it subtly with what you think will benefit the customer more.
You also need to map out the various departments involved in the procurement process. You can ask this upfront with the prospect – “do you’ll have a committee which gets involved in doing the buying” or another way “do you’ll go via a tender based process or is it an open bid” or another could be “does the purchase department need to be looped in during our communication” if the answer is yes, the add on question would be “who else do I need to keep in loop – what’s their name, designation….”.
A lot of times if the person tells you that “she’s the only person involved in the decision” that’s the biggest Red Flag you need to be bothered about. As I have been mentioning, in multiple posts through the years, in B2B procurement, its very rare that you will have only one person taking the decision. The higher the value, more the number of people involved. This kind of statement can have two implications – the person is extremely egoistic and doesn’t want you talking to others OR it can mean that she is trying to gain knowledge from you. Either situation is dangerous, so you need to find a way around.
Once you figure out the various stake holders involved you can start piecing together a story of the actual situation for buying. Inspite of these efforts you can still get into situations which turn out to be unproductive, but they will be lesser.
In the next post we will consider how you can find out who is your competition.