Sales people are good at looking for prospects or buyers with “pain” or “needs”, those ready for the seller’s “solution”. I get it, these are more immediate sales, more cooperative buyers even when the motivation is rooted in “pain”, but is that enough. Most groups I work with, when asked, will tell me that to make quota they will have to close business with more than just the “lower hanging fruit” of self-declared buyers with “pains” or “needs”, they will need to reach beyond this group, and bring other players “into the market”.
A few days ago I was in the back of a room when a pundit was telling a sales audience that they should notional segment their prospects’/buyers’ statements into three types of statements:
- Nice to haves
They went on to say that successful sales people focus most of their effort on the prospect’s “needs”, a lesser amount of time and effort on the “wants”, and by addressing these two you will win the business. Don’t waste time on the “Nice to haves”, “because they are likely not funded and usually reflect the individual, not the group, and therefore will not achieve consensus”. That may be logical on the surface, but I have always found that exploring the “Nice to haves”, usually helps me get the sale, or at times allow me to walk away, without adding much if any time to the sales cycle.
“Nice to haves”, are usually more personal or individual and certainly more subjective that other aspects of the decision around the purchase. As a result, we know that it is not likely to be the things everyone coalesces around, but it is often a key stop or the critical element in getting to that consensus. According to the CEB in the Challenger Customer, a buying group is more likely to have discord and failure in deciding the “type” of solution to deploy than in selecting a specific vendor once they have agreed on “solution”.
Against this back drop, it is clear that the clutch that brings people together, is the degree to which their “nice to haves” are part of the consideration and the path forward. It is the sales person’s ability to help each stakeholder see how the core decision and ultimate deliverable, actually moves them closer to their “nice to haves”.
Don’t look at exploring their “nice to haves” as a waste of time, they are personal and telling. On the hand you may find that individuals who may not see eye to eye on elements of the decision, may have similarities in their nice to haves. Creating connections and allegiances on that level could make the difference between one path and another, or one supplier vs. another. Having two allies you brought together on a personal level can’t hurt.
Knowing their “nice to haves”, will also put you in a good position for future upsells and renewals with the company, based on the rapport you established when you took their individual “nice to haves” into account. Remember, often the difference between a “want” and a “nice to have”, is the sales person’s ability to make the “nice to have” possible.