What an end of the month!
If you are an account manager, an account director, a business owner and founder, or in any way involved in sales, you know that end of the month is crucial in closing your sales deals.
And February is an even shorter month! Arggg!
Closing deals and achieving sales targets is the most crucial goal of salespeople. No matter how happy your clients or prospects are, unfortunately, it’s a numbers game.
And you hardcore salespeople know what I am talking about!
The pressure is real and intense.😫
Getting caught out and missing your targets is the worst feeling.
But most salespeople struggle in making a reliable sales forecast.
How can you avoid this?
That's what we are digging deep today!
Here are the 5 Essential Questions to ASK your clients' in their Decision-Making Process.
1: Don’t ask Who first, but What.
Instead of asking ...Are you the decision maker?
Ask open-ended questions to uncover the steps involved in the decision-making process.
This will help you to identify the key players and understand the timeline.
- “What steps must you take as an organisation to make a confident no or yes decision?”
- What is your organisations current process in moving forward to a decision?
One of the common mistakes is assuming that the person leading the project is the sole decision-maker.
If you ask your primary contact, are you the decision maker? Of course, he will say yes.
Moreover, there are five reasons why this question is more effective than asking who the decision maker is.
- We avoid implying that the person we are talking to is not important.
- Any person will say yes, I am, which is only partially correct.
- If the clients do not have a clear picture in their heads, they will miss sharing important details with you.
- When clients can articulate their decision-making steps, you will be confident in navigating the sales process.
- If your client is unsure how they make decisions, you can help your clients decide by navigating the process together.
Especially for complex deals, you will be surprised how much you can influence your clients.
2: What decision gets made in each step?
Ask questions to uncover the specific decisions your multiple stakeholders need to make at each step of the decision-making process.
This will help you to tailor your sales pitch to each decision maker’s needs. Use a Customer Influence Map template so you can understand what drives your clients.
It’s a mistake to assume that all decision-makers have the same priorities. Each decision-maker will have their agenda and concerns, so asking questions is vital to understanding them.
3: When will they decide?
You cannot assume that your prospect immediately needs your product/service now!
Ask questions to understand your client's timeline for their decision-making process.
- What is the payback if they make a change?
- What are the consequences if they do not act?
- Is there a specific timeline or event associated with the outcomes?
- What can happen if the customer does not push through with the project or solution?
This will help you to set expectations and plan your follow-up.
Depending on the complexity of your products and services, it can vary from a month to 2 years.
It’s crucial to find a “compelling event”.
Is it a competitor’s account, and do they need a date to move from their current supplier to you?
I remember a particular deal. It was almost the end of the financial year, and I learned that if my client didn't spend the money that year, they would lose the budget allocation.
Find these compelling events with your clients.
4: Who is involved in each step?
Ask questions to understand who is involved in each step of the decision-making process.
This will help you to identify the key decision-makers and understand their role in the process.
Talk directly to the different members and stakeholders and find out what they do and how they see things.
There would be different roles that these people would have.
- Champion or Coach
- Decision-maker Ratifier or recommender
Some people take on multiple roles, especially for smaller companies.
In complex opportunities, it is always helpful to create an organisational chart. Either you are building an informal one, or your client will give you one.
The key is understanding the main stakeholders and how decisions are made.
While it’s unfortunate to hear a NO decision.
It is better than spending your time and resources on projects you will not win and wasting precious time and resources.
5: How will each decision-maker decide?
What do your key decision-maker need to believe?
Understand What are the key issues each decision-maker must resolve.
- “From your perspective what are the important issues you need to resolve?”
- “From your perspective what are the results you want to achieve?.
Align their language to yours.
What would they like to see, hear and experience during your proposal presentation?
What are the stakeholder's criteria for deciding between themselves?
To summarize, asking the five key questions during the decision-making process with B2B clients can help you effectively qualify their decision process.
By understanding the steps involved, what decisions need to be made at each step, when the decision will be made, who is involved, and how each decision-maker decides, you can tailor your sales pitch and increase your chances of closing the deal.
Remember to avoid assuming that all decision-makers have the same priorities. Use the information gathered from these questions to create a positive customer buying experience.
With the right approach and understanding, you can successfully navigate your client's Decision-Making Process and Drive Consistent Sales Forecasting and come out on top.
Thank you for reading! I appreciate you!💜
Milestones in the Buying Process (Notion)
Qualifying Opportunity Checklist (Notion)
Customer Influence Map (Notion)
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