Value Selling and the Buyer’s Journey: 3 Conversations to Get "Do Nothing" to "Yes"

As your prospects begin and advance through their purchase decision making process, at each stage they have different motivation and need progressive guidance to advance through each step.  

Fail to provide that guidance and the purchase decision likely stalls (where 58% of the deals end up at "No Decision" according to Sales Benchmark Index) or the decision goes to your competitor who does a better job at facilitating the buying decision.

With today’s new breed of buyer, it is vital to not just pitch products, but facilitate the buyer’s journey: sequentially delivering the provocative messaging, insights, financial justification and differentiation to advance from “Do Nothing” to “Yes”.

To be successful, you need to have the right conversation and deliver the right content depending on the buyer journey stage, in order to help buyer’s overcome their fears and motivate a more timely and positive purchase decision. Your value messaging, tools and training all need to be designed to facilitate the right conversations based on the stage of the buyer’s journey:

Ideas Phase
Early in the decision making process, buyers may not be aware of important challenges they need to address, or if aware, may not be setting the proper priority on known issues. 

During the Ideas phase, it is not about the benefits or superiority of your solution, after all, the buyer may not even be aware they have an issue worth addressing. At this stage, the question to answer is “Why Change?”.

Therefore, the buying decision centers on illuminating the challenges the buyer has, and quantifying what these issues are costing the buyer each and every day.

At this early stage it is most important to help buyer’s identify and diagnose issues, just like a doctor would, and then Quantify the Pain, tallying the cost of “Do Nothing”. It's all about convincing the buyer that staying with business-as-usual / status quo is too costly / risk, and helping to make the challenges you can address a top priority in the buyer’s mind.

Exploration and Evaluation
In the middle stages of the buyer’s journey, your prospects are starting the search to see if solutions are available that can solve their most pressing challenges. They are also looking to overcome serious doubts, seeking validation that the solutions can indeed solve the issue and deliver tangible business benefits at low risk. The key question the buyer needs answered: “Why Now?”.

At this middle stage in the buyer’s journey, it is most important to Justify the Gain, proving to the buyer that your solution can solve their priority challenges, proving that you can help reduce costs, improve productivity, streamline processes, mitigate risks and drive incremental revenue. Here, a healthy ROI and quick payback make a difference.

Credibility is suspect at this phase, making it imperative you not only quantify the business value you can deliver, but provide significant evidence via success stories that other’s just like the buyer have achieved these gains.

Selection
In the final stages of the buyer’s journey, the prospect knows they want to address the challenges, but they usually have many choices as to which vendor to go with. At this phase, the buyer compares and contrasts various vendors and solutions, deciding who wins the “bake-off”, with a need to answer “Why You?”.

At this stage you have to Prove you are Not the Same: quantifying that you have a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – that you will be less expensive over the full lifecycle – and deliver superior ROI with less risk.

Of course, if you engaged with the buyer early, and helped facilitate the early stages of the decision cycle, you have likely created a superior customer experience, are viewed as more consultative and are by default most differentiated. According to Forrester, 74% of the deals go to the solution provider who can help the prospect establish the buying vision, versus only 26% for the vendor who wins the bake-off. 

The research clearly indicates that better differentiation and improved competitive win rates rely on advancing from pitching products to selling with value – engaging earlier with a more provocative / diagnostic approach, and having the right conversation fuel and content to help facilitate decision making at each stage of the buyer’s journey.


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