There are many sales organizations that are focused on ways to arm sellers in the new B2B buying process. Research from SiriusDecisions shows that nearly 70% of the buying process is done digitally. By the time these buyers speak to a salesperson, they aren’t interested in having a conversation. They’re ready for price quotes.
This buying process shift makes a lot of salespeople nervous. It shouldn’t. Think of it as a positive; they’re interested!
A more informed buyer provides an incredible opportunity to differentiate the way you do business. It also makes things more efficient, because you’re not wasting time qualifying opportunities that are never going to happen.
Maneuvering through this sales process means it’s critical that you first confirm where the buyer is in the buying process. Then, help the buyer clarify critical points of success. Specifically, the best sellers:
1. Help the buyer validate their strategy/thinking and defined requirements by adding measurable ways to determine which solution truly delivers on their requirements best.
2. Ask questions, based on their knowledge and experiences. This discovery helps buyers consider other potential critical success factors and possibly uncover additional requirements to ensure success. I call this, “adding more rows to the spreadsheet” (of requirements).
Understand, as a seller, that your strength lies in your ability to demonstrate Positive Business Intent. Positive Business Intent is made up of four components:
- Reliability (R) – Do you do what you say you’re going to do?
- Intimacy (I) – Can you build personal relationships with your customers?
- Credibility (C) – Do you bring authority to what you offer?
- Self - Orientation (S.O.) – Are you self or customer-focused?
This was one of my earliest sales lessons, and while I can’t remember who gave it to me, I am eternally grateful. It’s a simple math equation:
R + I + C ÷ S.O. = Positive Business Intent
The first three components are what you bring to the table. Their sum total gets divided by whether you are selfishly motivated or customer motivated. That said, the most critical part of the top equation is now “Credibility.” The other two are considered “table stakes”. The best sellers are those who bring credibility through knowledge and willingness to help buyers see new “points of view” that they haven’t been able to seen on their own.
When I was selling, Positive Business Intent was always my goal with customers. I wanted my customers to know that I understood what it meant to really think about their business. There are a lot of sales managers out there, who are just happy to have the title. I wanted my customers and sales team to know I wasn’t there to hand out my official business cards, I was there to work.
Building Positive Business Intent should be a goal with every one of your customer contacts. It’s a simple concept, but it’s not always easy. There’s not a cut and dry method to achieving it. Rather, it needs to be an underlying component to how you conduct business.
Salespeople that truly command their message know how to effectively communicate their positive business intent throughout the sales process. No matter where your prospect is in the buying process, keep the conversation customer-focused. You’ll find yourself building a network of champions and repeat business.