When we want to be of service to others, it’s exceptionally frustrating when some – including those who seem to be in the greatest need – are unwilling to let us help them.
I bet you’ve sat in many meetings where prospects have explained problems that you know you are exquisitely qualified to solve.
You’ve heard their aspirations and been able to see instantly how you can achieve them. Seen how the course of action they have mapped out in their heads will land them in a place that they really don't want to go. Felt the excitement of knowing you have a solution that can really help them.
The conversation goes well - they like you and you like them. It should be a total no-brainer that you'll do business together. Yet this is not always what happens. Why?
Services are difficult for buyers to evaluate. Buyers can neither see, touch, smell, taste nor hear services, so as far as they’re concerned, we may as well be selling fairy dust.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of hidden mistrust of service providers by those who buy services. Although they probably won’t say it to your face, here’s what they are thinking:
1. What does this really mean, anyway?
2. How do I know you will do what you say you will?
3. Will I actually get the team you're proposing?
4. How do I know this will get results?
5. Is this going to be hard for me to manage, or justify to my boss?
6. Does it really cost that much?
7. That doesn't look too hard…tell me again why I really need you, anyway?
Research by Qvidian shows that 63% of sales are lost to “no decision”. Opportunities often stall because doing nothing is often easier for a buyer than doing something that seems difficult or risky.
Although the buyer might give you many reasons as to why they did not proceed, these usually boil down to a single factor; they simply don’t believe the commercial value proposition you presented them with.
If you often find yourself in this position, it might come as a relief to know that the solution to this problem isn’t to get better at sales techniques or at negotiation. It is to better understand the value in what you are selling, and to present this in a way that helps people to understand why they should buy it.
A sales pitch often begins with aspirational attributes – how you can do things smarter and better – while the buyer’s thinking is stuck at the visceral level, worrying about cost and risk. This mismatch is costing you business.
Understanding how buyers perceive value, and calibrating your pitch to suit this, will answer their unasked questions and make a huge difference to your results.
|Robyn Haydon is a business development consultant specialising in business that is won through competitive bids and tenders. Her clients have won and retained hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business with many of Australia’s largest corporate and government buyers.|
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