Nothing frustrates CEO’s more than spending the time to develop a strategic plan and then find out six months into the plan sales is not executing the plan. What are the reasons sales fails to execute the plan? In my experience, most businesses do a great job of explaining their strategic plans, but they fail to provide sales the proper sales tools, a value proposition that resonates with buyers and the “how-to” for salespeople.
How to Sell “Cautiously Optimistic Buyers”- Diagnose and Prioritize Buyer Pain
One shift in buyers that has emerged as our economy begins to rebound is the “Cautiously Optimistic Buyer”. The good news is buyers are searching for solutions to problems they are having or plan to have. The bad news is this “cautiously optimistic buyer “has a different buying process and criteria than buyers of the past. Market leading salespeople diagnose and prioritize buyer(s) pain to close the cautiously optimistic buyer.
If you are trying to help salespeople close orders you probably have heard; “ my buyer is cautiously optimistic” as a response to the status of a pending sales opportunity ( and why the sale you thought you had has not closed yet). I have heard this phrase so often I wanted to share what it means and how salespeople must adapt to this buyer.
Before we can unpack this buyer and how to insure they purchase what they need from you, we need to understand what is meant by the phrase; “cautiously optimistic” I found an interesting quote at The Phrase Finder.
“I believe things will turn out well, so I want credit for having the wisdom to predict it. But I don’t have the courage to say so out loud, so if everything falls apart, I want credit for having the wisdom to be cautious.”
To paraphrase what I have been personally hearing…” I know I have a problem that needs to be solved, it has needed solved for some time but the economy was so bad I did not have budget approval, or the nerve to ask for one. However now the pain of this lingering problem is so great and it feels like the economy is turning around I must find a solution, but I must do so with the least amount of risk to my company ( me) while also being able to defend what I purchase incase I am challenged at a later date.”
So how do we successfully close a cautiously optimistic buyer?
The keys to closing this type of buyer are to;
*Ask open ended questions until you clearly understand the pain points of your buyer and all of those in the buying decision
*Prioritize pain points and rank by decision maker power
*Provide a summary of the problem to be solved, all the buying criteria and requirements shared to insure you did not miss any
*All follow up communications will speak to solving pain
*Proactively provide buyer(s) with information to defend their buying decision if challenged
As I have discussed in previous posts the buying environment has changed and market leading companies must sense the changed and adapt their sales process to insure they achieve sales objectives. If you ask salespeople why a sale they projected to close did not close you often hear; our price was too high. However if you ask buyers as I have, the number one reason the buyer did not buy was not price. The leading reason buyers do not buy is they feel the salesperson did not understand the problem to be solved completely and therefore they do not trust the solution the salesperson is proposing will make their pain (or threat of future pain) go away.
Have you experienced the cautiously optimistic buyer?
What changes have you made to your sales process to sell this buyer?
Are your salespeople finding the sales process has become longer or shorter?