In my last post, I discussed possible ways for you to build trust with customers and encouraged you to be patient with the trust-building process.
You can control your behaviors, but your customer is responsible for their behaviors. Not you. Their behaviors may have as much to do with closing a sale as yours.
What is the Current Purchasing Decision Process?
If the cost for your product is relatively low, your target customer may be able to approve the purchase on their own authority. If the sale involves a high value purchase, the customer may need approvals from their superiors in the organization.
If you are selling a product or service, particularly to an enterprise company, this may be even more complex. In addition to approvals from higher levels of management, you may need approvals from multiple stakeholders from multiple departments who have different, sometimes conflicting pain points and buying determinants.
When the selling process is complex, you need a value proposition for every stakeholder. The other choice is to rely on one or a few stakeholders to champion the purchase despite any misgivings by other stakeholders. I believe this is a way to reduce your success rate.
In all likelihood, your selling process from customer to customer will not vary that much. Most organizations have similar authority levels and you will see a pattern to the way purchasing decisions are made.
This should also influence your marketing and trust-building processes. If you know beforehand the typical stakeholders in your sales process, your marketing processes and social media content should span everyone in the process.
Another Way to Rethink Complex Selling Processes
Many startups are finding success by creating business models based on recurring revenues rather than large transactions.
You’ve likely witnessed the practice. Almost all new software applications charge by the month with the software hosted on a server in the cloud. WeWork is selling office space and services by the month. Almost all manufacturing equipment companies now offer leasing options. Leasing is the fastest growing way to finance a car.
You can reduce the complexity of your selling process if you can reduce the authority level needed to make a purchasing decision.
This also influences who you consider to be a “lead”. If you are a B2B business and have a high transaction cost, you may need to target Vice Presidents or CxO’s. If the cost can be lower, maybe Managers and Directors can be decision makers. If you are a B2C business, the income levels you target can be lower.
In both cases, the universe of potential leads is expanded.
This can also be a higher margin way for you to market your products. Since the out-of-pocket costs are lower, you likely can ultimately create more revenue for yourself than you realized from a one-time transaction. Price resistance is lower for lower cost products and services.
About the Author: Bob Kroon is a coach for high-performing Founders, CEO’s, and Owners. He founded Expeerious, LLC (expeerious.com) in 2015 to exclusively focus on coaching the success of Top Executives. For over 25 years, Bob served variously as CEO, COO, Division President, and Group Vice President.
The majority of his career was in manufacturing durable goods. Bob is an enthusiast and practitioner of Lean Thinking since 1986. He also has broad skills in M&A including financial modeling, deal structure, diligence, and post-close integration.
Bob’s current clients are diverse and include businesses in healthcare, agricultural products, robotics, luxury goods, and education.