If we are any good at what we do, we spend a lot of time trying to get inside the minds of buyers. You ask yourself:
- What do they want?
- What do I need say in order to get a chance of unseating an incumbent vendor?
- What should I do to make myself heard among all the other printers out there?
These are all tough questions; and there is no one set of “right” answers. Some of you might be thinking, “If I could answer all those questions, I would have the keys to the kingdom!” And to some extent, you might be right.
A true understanding of what makes a buyer tick is not something that is readily available to us on a regular basis. But insight IS available to us, in places we might not think to look. Where, you ask?
Here are a few places to look:WITHIN YOUR OWN COMPANY
.—Your company buys stuff, right? Office supplies, cleaning supplies, and paper are just a few of the items. And more significantly, real estate and capital equipment are probably in the mix. Arrange to have a meeting with the person (or people) who makes those buying decisions and pose the above questions, as well as any others that you can think of—information that you wish you could ask your clients and prospects. See if there aren’t some common themes that emerge. Figure out if anything that you learn can be applied to your sales approach.
YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
.—Does anyone that you are close to make buying decisions at their work place? If so, pose the same questions. Ask them about scenarios in which they have interacted with vendors. If possible, get copies of e-mails or letters they have received. Assess those communications for any ideas that you like, or even that you DON’T like. There are lessons to be learned here.YOURSELF
.—This one is kind of a “DUH!” But, I don’t think we think of it in terms of what our experiences can tell us about our sales performance. You make buying decisions almost every day, don’t you? Where you eat lunch and where to take your dry cleaning are the seemingly small ones. But then again, you also decide which car to buy and where to go on vacation. What are your criteria? What do you look for when doing business with people and companies?
Is there anything you can learn from your OWN buying behavior that might refine your sales acumen? Do you put off salespeople, and if so, do you accept being put off? What kind of information do you gather? How long does it take you to make a decision?
Chances are, your buying behavior mirrors your sales behavior, and you may be tolerating some of these conditions because of your own beliefs. This might just bear some further examination.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Anyone care to join in the conversation?