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Is it too late to become #buyerfirst?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 7/20/22 7:15 AM

mindsets get in  the way

How do you start a #buyerfirst relationship with my current customers if they've already gone through a traditional sales process? Is it too late?

It's never too late. 

I believe it's never too late to try to improve the experience someone has with you. 

But if the first time your current customers hear from you is when it's time for them to renew, a limited-time deal for them, or when you see an upsell opportunity, that's not improving their experience. It's just reinforcing more of the same. 

Now, what you don't want to do is you also don't want to disrupt the status quo.  Because you are the status quo. You want to reinforce that natural bias that we all have to stick with what we're already doing. 

Most of us don't like change.

You must understand how the customer got to where they are now. Even if they've already purchased from your company before, don't forget that this is your first experience with them. And things have evolved and changed. And it would be best if you found out what's grown and changed for them.

So ask:
  • When they first became a customer, what made them become a customer?
  • What made them decide yes? There was a reason they said yes. What was the reason?
  • What processes they went through to make this decision internally.
  • Who was involved, and what were their thoughts on the process were.
  • Who else was involved?
  • What goals did those people have?
  • What expectations did they have?
  • What is the impact of that?
  • How does that impact them?
Then ask about the implementation:
  • What did they expect?
  • How did it go?
  • What did they learn from it?

People often find internal things that have happened because they've had to implement something. 
  • Ask them about their goals and what made those goals so important.
  • Ask them how they progressed in those goals and what the impact that progression had on them.
  • Ask them what they're working on now.
  • What are the obstacles or roadblocks, or challenges that they foresee?
  • And what solutions are they considering for those?

Don't talk about your solution yet. Nope. Zip it.

Why is that? I came across some research from B2B Decision Labs on this. They had done a behavioral study that aligned with what research psychologist, Christopher Anderson, proposed in a study, “The psychology of doing nothing."

We've all heard that your biggest competitor is the choice to do nothing. It's a thing. Anderson found that there were four status quo biases that people have when they want to put decisions off and that they want to stick with their current situation:

  1. Preference stability
  2. Perceived cost of change
  3. Anticipated regret and blame
  4. Selection difficulty

When you ask how they got to where they are now, the process they had to go through reminds them of the effort it took to get there. That reinforces bias towards not wanting to change. 

You know, when you stuck around with a bad boyfriend or girlfriend for too long? Or an employee because you've invested a lot of work and effort into them? Same idea. 

When you ask about their goals, then and now, and their progress and put some quantifiable numbers to that, it reminds them of the perceived cost of change they've invested. It's now part of your customer's bottom line.

Ask your customer questions about implementation: 

They learned another way to uncover what they refer to as "anticipated regret or blame." And they'd have to go through it again if they wanted to switch to something. But it also helps you get feedback on what you could improve in your implementation team.

Sure, your customer could explore other options and implement them. But why go through all that when you can already do that with what you already have? That's reminding them of the effort and work that they had to go to get a solution put in. Why would you go through that if you've already got the tools at your disposal?

In short, you can make the buying experience different for anyone. But, you have to make it all about them first.

So, I'm pregnant... It's a book baby! 

"Buyer First, How To Sell The Way People Buy." I’m now signed with Page Two Publishing and we're going to be launching next fall!

I hope this will change how people think about selling as business owners. We've tried everything, but we don't realize that our mindsets get in our way of being successful in sales. 

Now we've tried all of the methodologies. We've tried all of the tactics. Why don't we see the results? It's because of what's happening between our ears. And like anything, you can change your mind. So you can change your results. 

Again, It's never too late to become #buyerfirst. 

And as always, keep learning, keep sharing out there. And we'll see you next time.

I want to know what's on your minds when you think about shifting your mindset to be all about your buyers. So, please send me your questions and comments.

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Topics: sales tactics, sales process, sales best practices, b2b, sales mindsets