This means it takes a lot longer to identify the problem and, for a business, walk a potential buyer through the sales cycle.
BUYERS HAVE DIFFICULTY EVALUATING SERVICE ‘PRODUCTS’
The ‘product’ of a service is often the result of many years of specialised study and training. As a result, people who lack this knowledge often have difficulty evaluating the value of service products.
Although they may not say it to your face if you are a service provider, here’s what they are thinking:
- What does this really mean, anyway?
- How do I know you will do what you say you will?
- Will I actually get the team you're proposing?
- How do I know this will get results?
- Is this going to be hard for me to manage, or justify to my boss?
- Does it really cost that much?
- That doesn't look too hard…tell me again why I really need you, anyway?
AS A RESULT, YOU MISS OUT ON BUSINESS – AND THE BUYER MISSES OUT ON VALUE
Opportunities often stall because doing nothing is easier for a buyer than doing something that seems difficult or risky.
Although the buyer might give you many reasons for why they did not proceed, these usually boil down to a single factor: they simply don’t believe the commercial value proposition.
If you often find yourself in this position, it might come as a relief to know the solution is not to get better at sales techniques or at negotiation.
It is to better understand the true value in what you are selling and to present this in a way which helps people to understand why they should buy it.
BEGIN BY AVOIDING A MISMATCH
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 can void a transaction.
What buyers are thinking is often more important than what they are saying. Understanding how buyers perceive value and adjusting a pitch to answer the buyer’s unasked questions will help them to say ‘yes’ to a service proposition more often.
Robyn Haydon is the author of ‘Value: How to talk about what you do so customers want to buy it’