First Gain Trust Then Meet the Buying Committee

Whenever I’m invited to meet with the buying committee of a prospect without first gaining trust with my sponsor’s in the company, “the hair on the back of my neck stands up”. Here is Dan Lemke’s story.
Dec. 14, 2010 - PRLog -- I just put down the phone and was excited the Buying Committee on a large project wanted to meet with me. My problem, I did not know many of the people who were going to be in the meeting. Understanding their needs, while building trust, was my primary objective before I set foot on the plane heading east to meet with the committee.

As they say, it is difficult to stand out in a crowd and our job is not to be like every other sales person buyers meet. Our job is to be a buying facilitator and create the Best Buying Experience. Easily said, this is the what/why, now, how and when do I accomplish this feat? I needed to build rapport, gain trust, and discover the needs of 7 more people before next Wednesday.

Understanding how to make our products stand out is the main stream of product education in most companies. Unfortunately, making ourselves stand out is often brushed over in sales training. I learned back in 1975, "First Gain Trust, Then Gain Business" is an unwritten law in selling.

Learning to develop a human connection is as important as any relevant facts or steps used throughout the buy/sell cycle with new and existing clients.

Creating the Best Buying Experience requires us to stay focused on the shifting concerns of the buyer as they make buying decisions. It is our job to sense where the buyer is in their buying process, while we discover their needs before any product details leave our lips.

Think back to my Buying Committee, it is made up of individuals, yet if I walk into a room full of buyers, they don’t know me and they likely expect what to leave my lips? You guessed it, product details.

Backing up buyers to discuss their needs in a buying committee when they are getting close to a buying decision is not only difficult; it is likely not what they are expecting. Worse yet, they may already have a Vision of a Solution, and if I didn’t help them create this Vision, odds are it is not mine.  

From our clients past experience, most Buying Committees prefer to line up product/service features alongside the requirements of their project. However, if I wasn’t first in to discover their needs, guess whose features are in those buying requirements? Here is a tactic I have always taught, “You can’t win a feature-function war, first make yourself equal, then make yourself different."

At this point I needed to do my best to understand the needs of each of the individuals, their respective responsibilities in the company and to build trust with each member prior to setting foot in a buying committee meeting. My objective was to align the buy-sell cycle by connecting on a personal level, while discovering the buyer’s needs and helping the buyers understand how the product-service capabilities I provide can help them achieve their compelling business needs.

One of the first behaviorally correct skills to help create the Best Buying Experience is staying focused on the buyers concerns and where they are in the buying process. In Consultative Selling it is our job to help buyers uncover solutions for their compelling business needs. To hear more about the shifting concerns of multiple buyers as they make buying decisions, listen to the narrated article by Dan Lemke, “Multiple Buyers Making Decisions in a Complex B2B Sale”.

Another proper behavior is being able to explain our products-services in ways our customers can easily visualize the business usage to help achieve their compelling needs. However, at this point, I did not know all of the compelling business needs of all the Buying Committee members.

Clearing my calendar of lower priorities I set about interviewing each of the committee members I was able to reach, documented the discussions back to them and asked them to share the information with others. Asking them to share the information demonstrates I do not plan to go behind their backs and want to make sure if any of the information is considered sensitive, they can determine how best to share the information. Remember, we build trust one step at a time, however, you can easily lose it in the blink of an eye.

At this point, I need to wrap up and will tell more of this story later. A future release will be, First Gain Trust - Then Manage the Buying Evaluation.

Our clients tell us to become proficient at consultative selling it is not enough to ask good questions and listen, we also need to stay aligned with our buyers shifting concerns as they are making buying decisions and demonstrate behaviorally correct skills throughout the buy-sell cycle.

Building Trust and The Best Buying Experience in B2B is a series of articles being written by the Vision Group.

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About Vision Group: Our clients use consultative selling aligned with how their customers buy, while staying focused on the buyers compelling business needs. This leads to the Best Buying Experience for their new and existing prospects-customers, the beginning of the Best Customer Experience.

Customers tell us we help train and educate their personnel on what their best do naturally. Telling stories woven with how their products/services are used by their customers to help achieve their compelling business needs, while using behaviorally correct skills during the buy-sell cycle to connect with prospects and customers.

With our continued association with Mike Bosworth we are offering training programs and consulting designed to help sales and marketing personnel improve their consultative selling methodology and effective prospecting.
Tags:Marketing, Business Development, Sales, Training, Consultative Selling
Industry:Business, Marketing, Services
Location:Wayzata - Minnesota - United States
Page Updated Last on: Mar 16, 2011

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