Having to build consensus among your buyers is one of the most challenging parts of the sales process. It is likely that many of the stakeholders (and maybe even all of them) are driving their own personal agenda—and many times, they won’t match up, neither amongst themselves nor with you.
The Corporate Executive Board mentioned in a recent webinar that having to build consensus can be frustrating for the salesperson, because it creates price-driven conversations, lengthens sales cycles, increases the need for specialist resources—all of which can result in more stalled deals.
Though the great benefit to companies of having diverse teams has been proven time and again, the diversity of opinions and points-of-view can frustrate the salesperson by increasing tension and slowing the buying cycle even more. So what can the salesperson do to avoid falling into that trap? Make sure you truly understand your customer’s business before you even start talking.
Help all stakeholders understand the problems they face. Getting every decision-maker on the same page is the very task that seems insurmountable in the first place. But if you demonstrate a deep understanding of the customer’s business and present their business challenges to them, you can focus the conversation around those particular points—and eliminate side agendas that can distract from what you’re trying to do. Using personal business analytics, you can see critical events and trends within their market, helping you make sure that your message really resonates with them when you walk into the meeting.
Demonstrate that your solution truly meets their need. Once you’ve centered your discussion around a specific handful of business problems, it’s time to work your magic. If you avoid selling your product itself and, rather, position it as a solution to their particular problems, your executive buyers are more likely to see the value that you create. Since you’ve already gotten them on the same page as to what their business issues are, you are more likely to be seen as a trusted partner—and explaining how you can help them tackle those challenges will help you get ahead.
Though it may seem like an intimidating task, there are things that you as a salesperson can do to shepherd your buyers in the right direction. By truly understanding their business, you can clearly define what their needs are and how you can help them.