Nowadays, selling is becoming more and more complex.
“So far there’s nothing new about that”, that’s what you’re probably thinking.
What used to be done with two or three phone calls and one meeting takes now months and months until a final decision is reached.
It’s normal to say: “the process is stuck”, “there’s no way they’ll decide about this”, and so on.
One of the main mistakes we find when working with the teams in Training and Business Coaching processes, where we have the opportunity to deeply analyse their process and business method, has to do with the lack of strategy.
It is commonplace that we continue to look at a complex sale in the same way as we look at a simple sale.
A complex sale needs a medium and long-term strategy.
It’s necessary to understand the reality of the process and, as in a war, to be prepared to win several battles.
A process of this nature could be seen as a multilevel pyramid that we have to climb.
Getting to the base is usually simple.
Here is where we usually meet some fantastic people who love to hold meetings for no reason, but also don’t bring us much added value to go ahead in the decision process.
However, they can be valuable aids to understand the reality of the company and start preparing a “value proposition” that allows us to access and sell our product or service at higher levels.
Because they usually have the time, we can invest a lot in building relationships and getting to know their main “aches” and ache chains.
Aches? Ache chains?
Aches are the main problems that your customer faces and that your product or service can solve.
“Ache chains” have to do with the vertical or horizontal extent with which this ache affects your customer’s company.
For example, a problem in production may also have an impact on the financial department or the commercial area.
In this way, the more “ache chains” our product or service solves, the greater the chances you’ll make the sale.
At the first level of the pyramid, therefore, you should be worried about building a relationship and defining the form of approach that you’ll have at the level above.
Once you become sure that your “value proposition” is well defended and that you are able to explain how you can resolve the company’s aches, it’s time to ask your interlocutor to take us to the level above.
And now that’s a good question, who is on the level above?
Usually the department that can actually profit from your product or service and that is actually suffering from the problems that the lower level has mentioned.
But because they are very busy people, when you get there you should be well prepared in order not to waste time.
At this level, the aim is to validate whether your “value proposition” really fits, and fine-tune a few details that you have not been able to validate at the lower level of the pyramid.
Once this level is worked on, you may then start walking to the top of the pyramid, where the decision maker is usually to be found.
Right now, if you have done your job correctly, you have already been involved in the lower levels of the pyramid and you know how your customer can use your “value proposition” to solve the “aches” or ache chains in their company.
If possible, you may have already put together an idea of ”Return on Investment” that your product or service can achieve.
And so, on three “simple” steps, you have reached deal closing.
What we have described above in a simplified way as three simple steps is actually a process that can take several months, depending on the type of product or solution.
Here you need to have a defined strategy for each stage of the process.
The more organized you are in all these stages, the more effective the re-use of all the experience gained in these processes will be.
This week try and stop for a while.
Think of one or two complex selling processes you’ve had in the past.
Detail them on paper, by stages, and analyse what worked or didn’t work.
The idea is to begin to structure the whole process, so that in the future your ability to respond is more effective and the chances of getting the deal are much higher.
You will see that future processes will be much more effective.