When it comes to business development, account management, and sales prospecting, are you creating buy-in confidence for your customers?
Let me let you in on a secret: your customers today are quietly struggling. And I’m not talking about economy-related matters when I say that. It’s deeper and far more personal.
Now, more than ever, people have difficulty making good buying decisions with confidence.
They’re overwhelmed by an overabundance of choices. And that’s an uncomfortable feeling. It leads to decision-making inertia: the silent killer of sales. As a seller, your job is to provide value and insights that instill trust in your customers. But how can you even begin to do that when those same customers don’t even trust themselves first? Let’s look further at what’s behind this dilemma.
Trust Is the New Scarcity
The authoritative annual study on trust, the Edelman Trust Barometer, just recently published their annual report on the subject. It’s a doozy. In short: no one trusts pretty much anyone or anything anymore.
The study points to a decline in economic optimism due to inflation, supply chain problems, and geopolitical conflicts. They see half of the countries surveyed showing a year-over-year double-digit decline in the belief that their families will be better off in five years. That’s a ten-point decline from 2022, and way down from 53% in 2019.
But there’s a silver lining in there for us to leverage in all that gloom: businesses are now the ONLY institutions that are seen as competent and ethical. So, let’s get to work!
Business Development: Get Inside Now
To understand what’s behind this trust deficit, you must get inside the mind of your buyers. Do that and you’ll see three things.
First, there’s a survivor mentality. The great corporate escape is real. Companies nearly everywhere are experiencing workplace reductions. And that’s not just affecting those who’ve had to move on. For those who stay, their newly thinned-out org chart means it’s now the survivors who are the decision makers…maybe for the first time in their careers. And they don’t have any mentors to support them. That’s a tough spot to be in. You must ask yourself: how can I be of service to them?
Second factor: your customer’s time is at an ultra-premium now. People are just plain busier. Your buyers are doing work that far exceeds their job description and pay grade. Their room for error and their willingness to take on risk is zero. Therefore, you must work with these facts, not against them.
Third point: more and more factors are vying for the buyer’s time. It keeps growing. As I talk about in my newest book, Right on the Money, those buyers see you today long before you see them. They do their research in stealth mode for weeks and months. But then they learn there’s a price to be paid for having an over-abundance of information. We all want more of it. And when we get it, we end up just more confused and less certain about what to do next.
All of this adds up to be one big problem today: buyers who need to make better decisions simply…don’t. And that’s because they feel they don’t have the time or tools and are worried about the risk of making a wrong decision.
Solution: Create Buy-In Confidence
That’s why sellers must create what I call buy-in confidence first. You must teach your customers and your prospects how to make better decisions—and more of them—in less time and at a higher profit for all. To get there, answer all of the following questions that your buyers are asking themselves.
- Is there alignment on the value I care about and the solutions I am considering? And is it obvious and easy for everyone to understand between me and the seller? Don’t leave it to your customer to figure this out. You must spell it out for them in every outreach, every email newsletter, every discovery meeting, and every proposal. Remember: the only value that matters is the value that matters to the buyer.
- What does my community say? Who else is talking about your proposed solution and how well-known is it? Your prospects are not willing to make a solo decision or be a test pilot with you right now. You must do the legwork now. Give them the confidence that they are making the right choice. Referrals and case studies are great as always, but today you must also take the time to meet with everyone in your buyer’s community who will either advise or influence their decision, plus those who’ve a stake in the decision. It affects them! When you have the prospect’s community all speaking about the value you deliver to them, you dramatically boost the buyer’s confidence in your solution.
- Do I have time to deal with this? And if so, is someone making it easy for me to make the right decision? You must eliminate all the speed bumps and needless barriers that hold back a potential buyer from making a decision. Be easy to find, easy to work with, and quick to respond. It’s not optional.
There’s one more secret I’ll share with you today on this topic of building buyer confidence. Even though the problem is easily diagnosed and the solutions are right there…many sellers just never bother applying the lessons. They want change, but they don’t want TO change.
So, ask yourself…how badly do you want your buyers to gain that buy-in confidence? How badly do you want it for yourself? The solution isn’t rocket science. But it does require a deliberate choice on your part.
Create buy-in with you. The rest will follow.