Some customers have told us that they don’t have the budget right now to buy. We know they’re not going somewhere else, they’re just postponing the purchase. How can we get them to take action sooner rather than later?
THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Sometimes customers lack the will to act. Other times, you may not be talking to the real decision maker. Some customers need you to do the math for them. Make sure the customer knows you’ll be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
The good news is, you’re in the door.
Now dig into what’s holding your customer back. Is your customer struggling with a need to be right? Desire for recognition? Trying to find a way to help everyone around them but not sure how to do that? Willing to act but not enough information? Once you know the issue, you’ll at least know where to focus efforts toward figuring out what to do next.
Also make sure you’re actually talking to the ultimate buyer.
Does your top contact report to anyone? Does that person above delegate or control decision-making? How often does your contact make decisions like the one you’re working on, without interference from anyone else, and how often do they get road blocked?
Here are some questions you can ask to find out who else might be involved in the decision. Who writes the check to pay for this? Who gets to use this service and how do they weigh in on what they need? Who are your technical experts? Who can help you evaluate your options? How far up the food chain does this decision go?
Ask for details.
Are there competing options? Is any group stuck or not engaged? What can you do to help people better understand their choices and the pros and cons of what they’re considering?
Eliminate surprises down the line. Give your customer a ballpark budget up front. Verify that funds could be found if the need is great enough. Stay within budget when it comes time to quote exact prices.
Sometimes clients get stuck because they can’t figure out the payoff vs. cost of implementing a new product, program or service. You can shine by offering to build an ROI framework.
Talk with everyone who will be touched by the proposed solution.
Gather information on how the new offer will change and improve things. Look for time savings, risk reduction and improved competitive position.
Translate your findings into dollar estimates: how much time saved at cost per hour, how much risk exposure could cost and what a new account or saved existing account is worth. Compare dollar estimates to the cost of your offer. Figure out how long it would take for the client to come out with a positive return. Keep digging until you have a substantial benefit.
Everybody is busy.
Respect your customer’s need to work efficiently. Post useful information on your website and send your prospects a link. Post short demos and testimonials so customers can look when they have time. When calling, leave short messages. Make sure your emails are crisp and to the point. If you have to submit a proposal, use sticky notes to draw attention to customer hot buttons and payoff calculations. Respond quickly when clients do have questions.
Be useful. Build your clients’ roster of connections. Provide references that link your contacts to people who can help them. Do research and share information about competitors and the industry at large. Make yourself indispensable by adding value.