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First Gain Trust Then Manage the Buying Evaluation to Create Best Buying Experience - Part 2
“Understanding where the individual is in their buying cycle is critical in consultative selling. A tool I use myself as the discovery phase is nearing completion is a buying evaluation plan.” Here is part 2 of Dan Lemke’s story.
In the beginning of the discovery phase it the individual's needs which are their highest concern. Staying focused on discussing their needs before product details leave our lips allows us to stay aligned with the prospect.
Looking at the diagram, in the beginning of discovery, cost is the second concern. However, total cost is being replaced by a Vision of a Solution in the buyers mind as the discovery phase progresses.
At this point let’s pick up where my story ended in the previous article, First Gain Trust Then Meet the Buying Committee.
As a reminder, I’m on my way to meet with all 7 members of the buying committee in a large complex sale. I’ve interviewed all the individuals before the meeting and have documented my conversations back to each individual separately.
The written correspondence to each individual covers their individual needs and the capabilities offered by my services. In addition, value has been documented around the needs and capabilities based on the numbers they have supplied.
They were each asked to share the information with others as they deemed appropriate. This is a small step in building trust, letting them take control. At the same time indicating I will not go behind their backs.
This is something I always practice myself, and teach, “let the customer decide how best to distribute information internally”. The members circulated the information amongst other members before my arrival. Confirming their needs, capabilities offered and value previously discovered were on track.
The meeting agenda, (mutually agreed with my sponsor), begins by asking the members present if the information in my correspondence is still representative of the current situation.
By asking this question, I can listen very carefully to what they say and do. Trying to determine if all of their compelling needs are being covered by the capabilities offered, or what if anything I have missed.
Extremely important is to see if the individuals, as well as the buying committee as a whole, continue to agree upon the needs, capabilities and value in front of others.
I am never surprised if the needs have not “evolved” since I wrote the correspondence to each person. This is due to many factors, such as they will discuss with others, review additional information and go outside the company to seek more input.
As this conversation is wrapping up, the compelling needs are on the table, the capabilities offered provide value, and we are nearing the end of discovery. At this point we are beginning to enter the evaluation phase.
The buying committee is forming a common Vision of a Solution to resolve their individual business needs during the meeting. They are able to observe how the needs of each functional area require different capabilities to solve the most needs for the overall business and deliver superior value.
At this point a reasonable question I can ask, “Would you like to move forward and further consider the potential value and the capabilities discussed?”
Providing the answer is yes, my next question is, “What else would you need to know to make a reasonable business decision?”
I am prepared at this point to write down anything the customer says. It is not the right time to say, “no” or “disagree”
After gathering all of the input, I present a draft of a buying evaluation plan I have used with previous customers. Covering any of the points they did not bring up in their request, which may be required on my end, or have not been considered up to this point.
A rough draft of a buying evaluation plan allows me to cover timing of a potential project. It goes without saying, if the value is low, so will be the priorities of making a decision or transitioning to any new capabilities.
My next step will be to prepare a draft of their Buying Evaluation Plan and submit it back to them for review and comment to arrive at a mutually agreeable final draft.
Once the buying evaluation plan is in place, we begin to execute the various steps leading up to the creation of a transition plan. I use the word transition, because it is more than a startup plan.
Transition includes all of the items they as a business, like wise I, may need to prepare. As the new capabilities are being introduced and rolled out into the functional areas of the business.
Unfortunately I have run out of time and will have to cover, First Gain Trust Then Manage the Transition Plan in Part 3.
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 based sales and marketing aligned with how their customers buy. Focused on the shifting concerns of how individuals make buying decisions and their compelling business needs. This leads to the Best Buying Experience, the beginning of the Best Customer Experience.
Customers tell us we help train and educate their personnel on what their best do naturally. Using behaviorally correct skills during the buy sell cycle to connect and build trust. While using the power of story with visual messaging to help new and existing customers develop a Vision of a Solution based on value.
With our continued association with Mike Bosworth we are offering training programs and consulting designed to help develop personnel to become more effective at consultative based sales, marketing and prospecting.