My 17 year old just started his first job at a retail store. His first sales job. After the first week, he came home shaking his head at how people buy. He couldn't understand why someone would come in, try something on, love it, but put it back because they might find something better somewhere else, only to come back a few days later to buy what they originally wanted. If you like it, and you have the money, why wouldn't you just buy it? That's what he would do.
We laughed a little about it and then I told him he was could be an excellent sales person someday. He looked at me a little funny and asked, "What does how people buy have to do with me being an excellent salesperson?"
So I told him, those who spend hours researching, comparing, and negotiating price have what is called a non supportive buy cycle, which is the most powerful and the second most common weakness in sales people. How you buy is how you accept other people will buy, and therefore how you sell. If you are someone who has to do a lot of research, haggle on price, or shop around and wait to find the perfect thing, then you are more likely to accept it when buyers want to do the same thing.
Salespeople who make buying decisions quickly are better able to help their prospects make faster buying decisions. If you won’t push back when your prospects want to think it over or compare more proposals or features, it will impact your ability to close and lengthen your sales cycle.
"Oh!" he said, "So it's something like this scene from the Monty Python movie, Life of Brian?" (I told you, he will be a great salesperson someday.)
Ok, so this is a funny exaggeration. But ask yourself-what was the most expensive thing you ever bought and how did you go about it? Did you spend hours comparing, haggling the price, or delay the decision so you could look up more information? Or did you do enough research to make an informed decision, found something in your price range that fixed the problem, and just bought it?
According to research from the Objective Management Group of over 800,000 salespeople across all industries, a non-supportive buy cycle makes salespeople empathetic to procrastinators, price shoppers, comparison shoppers, researchers and price objectors who stop and start, stall, put off, outright lie, make excuses, and tell sad stories. Whatever the reason given, the salesperson will agree with it and spend a lot of wasted time following up. Yet the business is still lost or delayed extensively.
Are delays the only symptom of a non supportive buy cycle? No.
Let’s say you tend to do a lot of research prior to making a major purchase. The Internet makes it so easy to search options, features, and pricing endlessly! Have you ever presented information about what you do, how you do it, why your services or product will work for them, and how much it will cost, and then have a prospect say, “Oh great, that sounds awesome!” and then have them go away and never reply back to your emails, calls, and pleas to pick you? According to OMG, if you are vulnerable to prospects that are conducting research, it may cause you to prematurely present information before you ask your prospects enough questions to know if they are qualified, a good fit, and ready to buy.
Once that happens, why should they speak to you again? What value did you bring? How was what you told them any different from your competitors? This doesn’t mean you don’t answer your prospects questions, or send them educational content to help them with your research.
When your buying process aligns with and supports the desired sales cycle, then the obstacles that used to stall you and stop the process become small delays that can be handled and worked through.
How do you buy? Do you invest in your own professional development, or wait for your employer to pay for it? How is that impacting how you sell? Do your prospects push back on your price, looking for a less expensive alternative, no matter what the "value" you have preached at them is? Do they need to do their "due diligence" before they can buy from you?