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the buying cycle stages 2 - 6

- what should you be doing?

Developing & Implementing Your Sales Process & Selling Strategies

Developing & Implementing Your Sales Process & Selling Strategies

Part 6 - The Buying Cycle Stages 2-6 – What Should You Be Doing?

I have previously written about stage 1 of the buying cycle, building your network, getting to know the business and the importance of Key People.

In stages 2 - 6 you are developing an opportunity with the customer. The customer will have a specific process and you must align your sales strategy accordingly. In stage 2 the customer will be deciding their criteria for choosing a solution, developing their decision process and forming their decision team.

It is important at this stage that you understand your customer's current technology and any existing preferences and policies as these may create prerequisites for solutions and suppliers.

Your Strategy: stay close to your customer, make sure you understand the decision process and you are talking to everyone involved. You should already have started to create and influence selection criteria – don't stop now! Help them to develop their criteria, know the strengths of your offering and match these to client needs and get these onto the selection evaluation list.

In stage 3 your customer will be comparing alternatives and deciding which option to proceed with – yours, your competitors, alternative approaches, or do nothing - yes maintaining the status quo is an option (never forget that!).

Throughout the process you will be communicating with customers (remember different people have different priorities and criteria) - letters, presentations and demonstrations are key, and good proposals will be a requirement for success. Focus on the selection criteria i.e. sell BENEFITS and confirm your ability to meet their Basis of Decision (BOD). I will deal with communicating with customers in a later blog.

Your customer has reviewed his options and has created his short list and perhaps will have a preferred supplier - they have reached stage 4 of the cycle - Resolution of Concerns. Concerns can arise at anytime in the process but are more likely to arise when the client is about to make the final decision - this is normal - big decisions imply risk with associated consequences for the buyer if something should go wrong. If the customer is raising concerns it is because they believe your solution is worth pursuing. Don't ignore concerns, look for signs of concerns arising, uncover and address them.

If you do a good job at this stage your customer will move to step 5 Decision. The customer has chosen you - you have won - or have you?

Things can still go wrong. The customer will try to negotiate / get concessions, competition will make a last ditch effort to reverse the decision, but all being well the customer (and you!) will sign a contract.

You and the customer will now move to step 6 implementation - you may think its over - it isn't. There may be a delay before delivery and the customer is still in the decision process. They will be monitoring you - checking that you are delivering what you promised and providing value for money. Look for quick results and discuss and communicate them. Should a problem occur, take ownership, address and resolve it.

The Implementation phase is a good chance for you to get know people in your account - remember the next phase has already started - Stage 1, Changes Over Time!

For more information about sales training, solution selling, sales and sales strategy contact

Roy O’Neil

07958 614398

0203 826 8262

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