Strategies for Sales Success Today

I’ve been investigating buyer behavior changes in the current economy and have found a couple items worth noting. If there is a general theme to buyer behavior these days it’s “risk mitigation”. In other words buyers are looking for ways to make safe decisions. They are scared to step out on a limb and take chances. The want to know they are unequivocally making the right choice.

This “risk mitigation” strategy is manifesting itself in a number of interesting ways in the sales cycle.

1) Buying cycles are extending. Buyers are relying more on committees and less on a single economic decision maker. When committees are formed, decisions take longer.

2) Buyers are depending more on referrals when considering new vendors. Today when companies are looking for new vendors they are favoring companies referred to them by partners or friends. Buyers today don’t want to engage with an unknown and are less likely to respond to a cold call.

3) Buyers are consolidating vendors in an effort to reduce risk and hopefully save money. Engage clients are reporting that their clients are starting to talk about “going with what they know” and are staying away from new, unknown suppliers.

How can you use this to your advantage in selling?

First: prospect hard to over-fill your pipeline. With a pipeline full of prospects you can guard against extended sales cycles.

Second: make sure you are getting to know all the decision makers on the committee. Don’t rely solely on the person who made the decision in the past.

Third: step up your referral program. Ask for referrals everyday and reward your referral sources.

Lastly: go to your existing customers now and ask about getting more of their business. Present solutions and ideas for them that will help them save money, time, resources, and stress by doing more business with you. Make a case for “sole supplier” and send testimonials of other clients who have done the same and prospered.

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