Handling Influencers
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A guest post by David Greer and excerpted in part from his book Wind In Your Sails.

Buying power has shifted from companies to purchasers.

There is too much information available today on the Internet for anyone to think they can hide information from buyers. While buyers always had a process, in the past marketers could get away without knowing those processes in exacting detail. Today you cannot market and sell without knowing how your prospects buy and what are the key drivers for them to make a change.

wind-in-your-sail-book-stackIn the middle of the sales process, strategic thinking has an incredibly important part to play. In order to understand a prospect’s buying process, you must start with the numerous stakeholders. Many of them have veto power in the process. In my book, Wind In Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Success I feature the strategies that Guy Smith (head of Silicon Strategies Marketing) uses to understand and deal with these key influencers.

With the buyers in control the only way you can successfully sell solutions involving multiple stakeholders is to understand their buying process and map that into your sales process. The entry point into the sales process today is 60-65% of the way through the buyer’s process. To grow sales, you have to be prepared to take on all objections from an already informed buyer and be prepared for every incremental stage of their buying process. Here’s how Silicon Strategies Marketing’s processes discover who, when, and what are the people and their objections that will show up:

“Guy makes sure the very first thing he does when working with a new company is to itemize every stakeholder who has any degree of influence over the purchase process. This includes people who have functional veto power. They may not have organizational veto power but they can stop a project if they decide to. For example, in technology companies the techies have a tremendous amount of veto power. They can park their butts on the ground and stop multi-million dollar projects from ever starting.”

By mapping the people and their objections in the sales process, as Guy outlines, you can do a fabulous job of arming sales people with the right responses, materials, and objection-handling that let you work with the key stakeholders  and can close the sale quickly. More importantly you will have the ability to develop key measures that inform you where every prospective sale is in the process, letting you forecast sales accurately and identify funnel blockage issues.

Speed up your sales process today by reading and implementing the strategies and examples featured in Wind In Your Sails.


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