Today’s technology has changed the way buyers make purchasing decisions.
At this point in the game, if you’re not rolling your eyes and saying, “Duh!”, then we need to talk.
Even though many understand the shifts in buyer behavior, there are a surprising number of people and businesses who have yet to modify sales techniques to properly correspond.
With a measly 5% close rate, Cold Calling has left the building. And dabbling in the price war arena is like entering the Thunder Dome – two will go in, one will come out, and it’s no fun for either.
Here’s how it works today: When your prospect first gets the idea to buy, renew, or switch vendors, the decision-making process sets in motion. They begin by gathering information in the quickest, most efficient manner–Google, of course. They’ll research and compare that information and ask friends and colleagues for recommendations and referrals. They’ll then narrow in on those with the best looking reputations and the most recommendations–these are the providers to whom they’ll reach out.
Well-known author of The Sales Bible, Jeffrey Gitomer, states that when a sales executive can reach a prospect with value-added information at the beginning of this decision-making process, s/he has up to an 85% chance of winning business. Why? Because at this point, s/he can shape the criteria upon which the prospect makes all subsequent decisions in the buying process. Those who don’t reach the prospect until the end of the decision-making process have only a 15% chance of closing a deal.
In addition, Gitomer provides evidence that indicates a 95% chance of winning business when a prospect calls the provider versus a 5% chance when the provider cold calls a prospect. This suggests that we can take strategic actions and utilize the power of timing to close deals. The key to winning business lies in our ability to prove value to the potential buyer during the initial stages of the buying cycle, thus encouraging the prospect to make that call early on.
So, how do we get to our prospects at the beginning of the decision-making process? And how do we get them to call us first?
When your prospect Google’s your product or service, you want to be noticeable. Get up there in the search rankings with your site, blog, LinkedIn profile, experts articles, and informative and helpful content. Increase your recommendations through LinkedIn. Write a “Buyer’s Guide” for prospects to help them as they move through the decision-making process and make that guide highly visible and easily accessible. (For specific details on how to accomplish these actions, take a look back through the “Cup of Coffee” Sunday articles.)
The decision-making process is a continuously repeating cycle and today’s technology allows us to introduce, nurture, close, retain prospects and customers and leverage information from all points of the continuum.
We have the tools – let’s connect the dots and use them to align the way we’re selling with the way our prospects are buying.
Wendy Brache builds and executes personal branding and online marketing strategy for executives and corporations in the high-tech sector. She is the author of Sales Force Branding: Differentiate from the Competition, and co-creator of the Sales Force Branding program. Wendy is a senior consultant specializing in B2B Corporate Social Media, Demand Generation and Marketing Automation, and is also a featured marketing technology speaker and columnist on renowned websites, such as Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference, Chopra’s Intent.com and Denver’s GreatIdeasForKids.com.