Selling at the Buyer's Pace

Selling at the Buyer's Pace 

 How to Identify a Prospect in the Three Stages of the Buyer’s Journey 
 
Good salespeople provide the right information at the right time to interested buyers. If you provide too much too early, you could lose the prospect before they're ready to open up to you. Imagine you're on a first date and you open the conversation with details about politics, religion, and kids. Do you think you'd get a second date? It's no wonder your inquiries are ghosting you! 

When someone inquires, you have to find out where they are in the process and then provide the right information for that place. 

The Buyer’s Journey
Buyers move through three general stages:

  1. Interest

  2. Evaluation

  3. Commitment

Their needs at each stage are different, but they may not know this, so you'll have to guide them along the way. 

In the interest stage, help them discover what they want. They don’t know much about your services, and frankly, it doesn’t really matter at this point. I repeat, they really don’t yet care what you offer. They care about what they want, and they need your help to identify it. So, in the early stages of the inquiry, you should spend most of your time learning about them and what’s important to them. 

When you get to the evaluation stage you can finally start talking about what you offer clients. Don’t just list out what you do, though. That’s a quick way to lose someone’s interest because it’s all "me-me-me." Instead, make it about them with how the services will meet theirneeds. During the evaluation stage, you want to provide information that’s important for them to be able to make a solid, rational decision. Give them specifics and details that matter. 

Pro tip: It’s better to say, “You’ll get photos of your wedding day from getting ready to the send-off,” instead of “I provide 10 hours of coverage.” Slight difference in wording, but a big difference in how a prospect processes what you’re saying.

When they’re ready to make a choice, move into the commitment stage. They want to know two things. 1) Are you a good value, and 2) Are they making a good decision? The first relates to price and the second relates to risk. The information you provide to them in this last stage should build your value, justify your price, and reassure them in the choice they’re about to make.

How to determine where a buyer is on the journey?
The simplest and most direct way to learn where a prospect is in their journey is simply to ask in your online form. Just make it one of your questions: “Where are you in your decision-making process?” List out three options: 1) Exploring and researching, 2) Collecting information on [insert your field]’s we like, or 3) Ready to make a decision in the next week or two. Giving them options will let them know there’s a process to the decision-making while telling them you get the process and are willing to work with them where ever they are on the buyer's journey.

If you don’t want to put this on your inquiry form, ask more indirectly in an email or on a call/in-person. How? “So, get me caught up on where you’re at in looking for a [insert your field]? I’d love to know more…” Then just listen. 

Pro tip: Give an "empathy statement" before asking to hear about where they’re at in the selection process. “You must be overwhelmed with all the options for [insert field].” Or, “There are so many ways to go about finding the right person for your [insert field] needs.” Just let them know that you understand the process and what they might be struggling with and this will help build trust. Make them feel comfortable being vulnerable enough to let you into their decision-making process. 

When you know where they are on the buyer’s journey you’ll be able to provide the right information at the right time – and increase your likelihood of converting the piece of business.

SalesSam Jacobson