Would you talk to your child’s teacher about maintaining your yard? How about discussing your financial portfolio with your internist or medical issues with your dog’s groomer? If you do, they will consider their conversation with you a waste of time and make sure never to put themselves in that position again. These professions all have their areas of expertise. The people in your accounts who buy from you do as well.
Successful salespeople recognize that their accounts may have many people influencing buying decisions. They exist in the following categories:
- User or worker – uses or works with your products or services.
- Technical expert - evaluates your products or services based on their expertise.
- Coach - provides information to help you win business.
- Champion - has clout and can influence others to get things done.
- Economic Buyer – can say “Yes” to buying without permission.
Each influence bases decisions on how what you are selling affects them individually. Be aware that what interests one group may be of no interest to another. If you focus on the same topics with each influence in your accounts, you are missing opportunities, and the sales process will stall.
These influences all experience some level of FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Work to reduce the perceived risk for each stakeholder. Successful salespeople don’t ask the same questions of technical influences that they ask of financial officers. Instead, they ask different questions of everyone to understand what they perceive as FUD and how to reduce it. It is essential to understand each influence’s risk throughout the buying process. Once you understand their risks, you can help them understand how what you are selling mitigates what they see as risks, which relieves their fear, uncertainty, and doubt and keeps the sales process moving.
Prospects and customers buy on emotion but use facts and figures to justify their decision. Therefore, we must understand which facts and figures are relevant for each person we speak with to maintain their interest throughout the process. Doing this fosters the relationship and helps you become a valued resource.