Report after report tell us that buyers are failing in their mission to solve a problem and buy a solution. We know 60% of committed buying efforts end in no decision made. For those remaining 40%, a huge percentage of them express regret. It doesn’t take much of a leap to recognize Buying Is Broken!
Despite this, sellers keep their noses to the grindstone. They continue to do the same things they have always done, and if they don’t get the results they need, they do more–faster. (At the behest of their managers, for whom, “more” is the miracle cure for every performance issue.).
And we see the performance data, it shows that despite doing more, fewer sales people are achieving their goals.
It seems, somehow, like the definition of insanity.
To address this issue, we spend a lot of time, and millions of dollars, trying to figure out how to sell better or differently. We look at new techniques, methodologies, new tools. We are trained in the latest things focused on helping us sell more, sometimes to help us be better.
We have to look to the source of the problem, to the buyers themselves. We have to understand why and how they are failing and how we can help reduce that.
Failure on the buyers’ sides can be a result of many different reasons:
None of this has anything to do with what we sell! It’s all about them, their ability to navigate their buying process and their decision confidence–or lack of confidence.
Despite doing more, fewer sales people are achieving their goals.
However, we invest our time in focusing on our product, providing more details, more data, more demos, more testimonials. The more “advanced” might go to the business case and re-emphasizing that and the consequences of doing nothing. Instead of provoking them to make a decision, it actually has the opposite effect of making them more worried and indecisive.
We don’t fix buying by focusing on how we sell. We fix buying by helping our customers navigate the process, by helping them orchestrate the process, by addressing their fears, by helping build confidence.
Buying is broken, our customers don’t know how to fix it. As a result, they depend on our help!
Afterword: Much of this post was very loosely based on some of what Matt Dixon and Ted McKenna talk about in their upcoming book, The JOLT Effect! Go to Amazon, pre-order it, make sure you read and re-read it.
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.
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