As we start to unlock business and social activities are we on a journey back to how things were?
The level of uncertainty has, we believe, has had a profound impact on how, when and with who decisions are made. The way that businesses work with each other has reset and we all face an adaptation challenge. The winners will Bounce Back Smarter
What do we mean by Bounce Back Smarter in context of buyers and sellers in a business environment?
There are, we think, three critical elements which offer Smart Sellers an opportunity to differentiate themselves. They build one on the other and can be seen as a three step journey to Smarter
We’ve all heard this imperative and it’s often translated by marketing as a series of pain points against which to align the selling proposition. In our view a much deeper understanding is needed.
Firstly, the seller needs to think beyond the transactions that they want to improve. Smarter sellers reognise both the broader business context and the emotional factors that impact buyer’s specific business situation. We keep in mind the old adage:
‘I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care’
Sellers have to recognise that buyers have sensitive ‘receptors’ and quickly detect your intention. Is your intent to show how much you care about the buyer and their business?
Questioning strategies used by sellers often focus at transactional level and immediately confirm the seller’s intention to the buyer. Figure out how to upgrade and demonstrate your intent to understand rather than to sell.
Listening skills are a personal challenge for this writer who frequently falls below target performance by, for example, jumping into conversations too quickly or failing to control body language. This is despite seeing over and over the power that good listening skills have in uncovering superior insight and quickly developing unbeatable trust in buyers.
Building Past the Transaction
Pre reset, quickly getting into transactional discussions may have worked. It’s less likely to do so now as buyers operate in a less certain world and become more cautious in their decision making.
If sellers put themselves into the shoes of their target buyers they would see three core reasons for making a decision:
- Money – save costs
- Money – increase revenue
- Risk – mitigate them
In our reset world each of these reasons is still valid but each is influenced by significant uncertainty in the overall environment. The ability to look forward with a degree of confidence at the future state is greatly reduced. This is something that Smarter Sellers will take great account of.
Smarter Sellers will build a deeper understanding of all buyers and their respective situations using smarter questions and better listening. By doing this, buyers appreciation and trust grows and the seller’s value increases. A ‘virtuous relationship circle’ forms.
Given the level of uncertainty for buyers, the relevance of ‘hard edged’ qualification criteria (for example BANT – budget, authority, need, timing) is greatly diminished. Buyers are likely to be unable to give reliable answers to these kinds of questions.
If the previous two steps have been followed, a Smart Seller will have superior insight into both the emotional and logical factors that each influencer to the decision is wrestling with. Arranging these so that sellers can align to the buying cycle will set Smarter Sellers apart
Bounce Back Smarter
Smarter Sellers recognise that buyers are likely to have reset and that they must adapt. Inevitably change will be most acute at the sharp end; the interactions between a seller and target buyer
Operating from a more uncertain position, a buyer’s receptors are seeking out sellers intentions. Those who behave as before will find progress is slower while those who demonstrate an intent to really understand will get more time.
Upgraded questioning and listening skills are even more essential in building the kind of trusting relationship that leads to a virtuous relationship circle.
Having patience will get an ambitious seller to the right outcome more quickly and reliably than hard selling ever will. Replace hard edge qualification and reset to look instead at ways to consistently understand buyers holistic situations.
Bounce Back, be a Smarter Seller by resetting relationships.