Know your target market
What many sales and business people fail to do is to clearly identify who their target market is. They feel that “everybody is a prospect”. Even though your product may very well be usable by “everybody” or every company, not everybody has the ability to make the buying decision. So, in order to create a successful selling environment, you must know the demographics of your decision maker(s).
Is the final decision made at the C-Level? VP? HR? Facilities Manager? Husband? Wife? Is there only one decision maker, or are there multiple? If multiple, what specific benefits will each one look for from your product or service?
Just remember that for every buying decision there are four buying roles that will be played:
- The Fiscal Buyer – person that writes the check
- The Practical Buyer – the person that looks for all of the technicalities as to how well your product or service solves their specific challenge
- The Consumer Buyer – the person, or persons, that will use your product or service.
- The Coach – the person that coaches you through the sales process of the others. These can be all one person, they can be a committee of people or anything in between, but every role will be played in every sale. Let’s break each role down and also discuss why it is important to get each one’s buy-in in order to make the sale.
Whether you’re selling B2B or B2C and you have more than one individual involved in the buying process, you will need a Coach. Think about the last time you made a personal major purchase, such as a car. If you’re the negotiating person for the husband and wife team, you’ve forewarned your mate not to get excited when they see the car they want, to play it cool and to let you do the negotiating.
If the salesperson is alert and sales savvy, they’ll identify who the negotiating person is right away. Knowing that they need inside information to get the deal closed right then and there, they would smartly set-up an opportunity to get the non-negotiating person to open up to them as to what it will take to get the deal done. Once they have that information, they are properly positioned to make the sale. I have purchased more cars because this information was divulged than I want to admit.
The same applies to a business setting. Let’s say, for instance, that you are selling IT software. You have found a contact at a mid-management level. For the purpose of our discussion, that person is the Practical Buyer. So, you find out what the practical and technical needs are for solving the challenge they are currently facing. Now, you need to understand how the Fiscal and Consumer Buyers see the challenge and what it will take to win them over to a sale.
Your Practical Buyer now becomes your Coach, too. Once you see that the Practical Buyer agrees that you have the solution to his/her challenge, you can ask what information they see would be valuable to the other buyers.
- How would your solution help the Consumer Buyers’ jobs be easier?
- What would it take for them to easily adopt your software?
- How has the lack of a solution so far had a fiscal impact on the company?
- What other solutions has the Fiscal Buyer looked at and why haven’t any of them been implemented?
Not only the “What”, but the “How” they buy is important, too. What buying process does the Fiscal Buyer use? How have they defined what the “right” solution looks like? Again, in these areas is where your Coach becomes an invaluable part of your selling process.
One last note about the Coach. Your Coach could easily be someone at an entry level of an organization, such as a receptionist. I have made many sales based on building a relationship with receptionists and getting them to share with me information about the company, people in the company and the best way to interact with them.
Your Coach can also be a person outside of the organization you want to do business with, but has relationships, or at least a strong familiarity, with the organization. This could be a salesperson that has sold a similar product to the company, a consultant, or someone that has worked for the company in the past, to name a few.
These are the people that will use your product or service. You have probably worked at a company where you saw a lot of buzz going on with management and then, the next thing you know, some new process, tool, software, etc. is being introduced. You look at it. You touch it. You talk to your co-workers about it. And, you all decide that it isn’t right for you because it is going to make your job harder for you. It’s not as easy to work with. The format of the page is different. You have an additional process to go through to do the same job. So, the project fails.
That’s what I mean by getting the Consumer Buy-in or adoption. I have found that one of the best ways to get Consumer Buy-in is by offering a free trial, if possible. Once the trial is complete, then create a form to have the Consumer Buyers give you input and rate your product/service. An additional benefit to using a free trial is that, if the majority of the Consumer Buyer population favors your product/service, then you have ammunition to use with the other Buyers as to why they should go with you as their vendor-of-choice.
This is the person that makes sure your product/service meets the company’s specifications. Is it the right size? Does it work with their other hardware, software, voltages, etc. Is it user-friendly? Will it cause the company to have to make any changes, such as physically altering their facility, having additional staff training, etc.
This person, many times more than not, is looking for a way to knock you out of the competition. They are looking for a reason to tell you no. This is only logical, because once they have eliminated all of the people they can because of what many times would be considered a minor issue, the sooner they can focus on the vendors they know meet the minimums and they can build from there.
By the way, for obvious reasons, this is a great person to have on your side and recommending you to the rest of the Buyers. It is also another reason to go into your selling situation well-prepared, either by your own research, a Coach, or both. Knowing what your Practical Buyer’s minimum needs are will go a long way to setting yourself up for sales success.
I left this Buyer for last because he/she/they will be the one(s) that make the decision to write the check. As you have noticed, all of the Buyers up to this point had a focused agenda, their needs. Not that the Fiscal Buyer doesn’t. But, especially if you’re selling at the President and C-level, this person has a much broader brush stroke to be concerned about.
Whereas the others have more of the here-and-now in view, the C-level person has the future in view. This person will be concerned, not just about the immediate cost and effects, but on-going costs and effects. They will be concerned about how your product/service will affect future plans for the company. One of the best situations you can encounter is when the perspectives of what the solution looks like is an empty canvass. This is where you truly become a partner with the company in building the vision of what the solution looks like.
If you have the opportunity to meet with the Fiscal Buyer early on in the buying process, it is to your advantage to help that person script the vision of the solution. In this way, if you can truly be of help in solving the challenge they want you to solve, you have set the standard by which any other vendors being considered will be judged by. This puts you at a distinct advantage.
So, be a consultant, advisor, even a partner, with the Fiscal Buyer and look long-term as to how your product/service will solve the challenge(s) they are facing now and into the future.
One last thought before we move on to help your thought-process be simple. Keep in mind that all prospects and Buyers listen to the same radio station, WIIFM. What’s In It For Me. They don’t care if you want to buy a new car, a house, or a boat. They want to know what you are going to do for them, both personally and for their position in the company. So, be outward focused during the selling process. As Zig Ziglar said many years ago, “If I help enough people get what they want, then, in return, I’ll get what I want.”