Sales success starts with three simple things: a product buyers want, credibility and timing. Since most sales professionals represent quality products and services and assuming for the moment establishing credibility is not an issue, the last hurdle to sales success is timing – being first with motivated buyers.
It does not matter what you sell or who you are selling to, buyers are always in one of three Buying Modes:
- Status Quo: Status quo is when a potential buyer perceives the product or service they are currently using meets their needs.
- Searching for Alternatives: Searching for Alternatives is when a buyer realizes what they have no longer meets their needs and are actively engaged in the process of searching for alternatives.
- Window of Dissatisfaction: A window of dissatisfaction exists between Status Quo and Searching for Alternatives after the buyer realizes what they have no longer meets the needs of their business but has not started the process of searching for alternatives.
You are five times more likely to make a sale when you are the first person in front of a buyer in the Window of Dissatisfaction. Smart sales professionals focus their efforts on these buyers.
Buying Modes and Prices
It’s important to understand the role Buying Modes play in sales. As a rule, buyers pay for perceived value: their perception of the difference in value between your product and the alternative.
In terms of Buying Modes, the buyer’s perception of value shifts as the buyer moves from one buying mode to another. For example, when a buyer is in the Status Quo mode, their perception of the value of your product is their perception of the difference between what they already have and what you provide. The difference is usually not enough for them buy from you.
But when the buyer realizes their current solution no longer meets their needs, they move into the Window of Dissatisfaction. Now, because their perception of the value of what they already have drops, the difference between what they have and what you provide increases to the point where they are motivated buyers.
The value of being first with a buyer in the Window of Dissatisfaction is that you sell more, sell sooner, and sell at a higher price. By acting quickly when the buyer is in the Window of Dissatisfaction, sales professionals can help buyers become emotionally tied to their solution and create a new status quo. Succeed and when a competitor comes along with a solution that is only incrementally better than yours, the buyer sees little value in doing business with your competitor and remains committed to your solution.
When the buyer starts searching for alternatives, their perception of value is now the difference between you and your next nearest competitor. If you miss the Window of Dissatisfaction and the buyer becomes actively engaged in Searching for Alternatives, you are much more likely to have a low close ratio, a longer sales cycle, and IF you win the business, it’s at a much lower price.
The REAL value of timing
The REAL value of timing is that when you are first with motivated buyers, buyers in the Window of Dissatisfaction, you get core, loyal buyers who represent 80% of your profits. These buyers will gladly be a reference and provide you with the most treasured thing in sales – referrals.
The reason is simple: when you connect with the buyers during the Window of Dissatisfaction, their perception of value of what you sell is much greater and that increases the selling price. With higher prices comes higher profit margins and with higher margins you’re able to assign more resources to the buyer and ultimately, provide better service.
Miss the Window of Dissatisfaction and you get peripheral, disloyal, demanding buyers who will be 80% of your headaches. By finding more loyal buyers, you will accelerate your sales because you won’t have to replace those buyers who leave before your sales grow.
How do you become first with motivated buyers?
So, if the goal of timing is to be the first sales professional to connect with potential buyers in the Window of Dissatisfaction, how do you get front of buyers when they are in the Window of Dissatisfaction? There are three simple ways to get timing:
- Become a buyer’s Emotional Favorite
- Get Referred by Another Buyer
- Create a Window of Dissatisfaction
Becoming the Emotional Favorite
A buyer’s Emotional Favorite is the person the buyer knows, likes, trusts and most importantly wants to see succeed. This is the person the buyer believes has earned their business and actually deserves it. The Emotional Favorite is the first person the buyer contacts when they shift from the Status Quo to the Window of Dissatisfaction.
One of the best ways to become the Emotional Favorite is to help your buyers solve problems unrelated to what you sell. On every sales call, try asking your buyers about their key challenges and whenever possible connect them with professionals from your network who can address their challenges.
Getting More Referrals
The best way to increase your close ratio is to get referred to a potential buyer because you start off with much greater credibility in the eyes of the potential buyer – the credibility of the person who referred you. There are three times to ask for referrals:
- Won sales – Ask for a referral after you have won a sale and the buyer is satisfied with your product or service.
- Lost sales – Just because you lost the sale doesn’t mean the buyer wouldn’t gladly refer you, especially if you were the most professional and responsive sales professional they dealt with.
- Before a sale – By becoming the Emotional Favorite, you can also ask for and get referrals before you make a sale!
Creating a Window of Dissatisfaction
A buyer is in the Status Quo mode when their perception of the performance of their current solution is greater than or equal to their expectations. To shift the buyer from Status Quo to the Window of Dissatisfaction mode, you need to raise the buyer’s expectations of their current solution in one of three ways:
- Sales Professional – Educate the buyer as to what sales professionals do: help their buyers become successful not just sell.
- Product – Educate the buyer on how your product can help them to catch up to or stay ahead of their competition.
- Company – Educate the buyer on how your company is a better corporate citizen and therefore, more desirable to do business with.
Timing in sales is seldom an accident. It’s the result of understanding Buying Modes to create new selling opportunities. By matching your sales strategy to the Buying Mode, you will maximize your sales effectiveness, develop and maintain strong relationships with buyers and you will create the incredible opportunities that come with being first with motivated buyers.