You already know that there are on average 6 to 7 stakeholders involved in the buying process. Hence, it makes absolute sense to find out what’s going on with and between these stakeholders. For that, imagine they are all sitting in one room; The Buying Room. What are they talking about? Who is doing the talking? To improve business results what should their next investment be? If you want to advance your opportunity, then here is where you find clues. The stakeholders are the guardians of your opportunity, the treasure you are chasing. The more you know about them and what’s going on in The Buying Room, the greater your chances are of finding the key to the treasure chest.
There is no doubt that The Buying Room is a melting pot of opinions, ideas, pressures, and politics. Think about your recent meetings with a prospect of considerable size. What were the outcomes of your meetings? Were you able to advance your opportunity to the next step or did you come to a dead-end? In these meetings, the risk you face is to let the stakeholders control your actions instead of taking control of your own actions. Do not let them kick you around like a ball at a Fußball table. Take control by grabbing the three available Buying Room handles and improve your chances to score a goal. Document your findings of each handle into your CRM tool.
1.Buying Process Stage
The first handle is the buying process stage. You need to meet with many stakeholders to get a feeling of where each contact is in the buying process. Although they all have the common goal of improving the business results, they may all have a strong opinion on the strategy of how to achieve that objective. Some favor the status quo with small adjustments, others feel a drastic change is needed. So every now and then there are stakeholders coming to the senior management meetings with great ideas, even with defined criteria for the new suppliers. That several stakeholders are in different stages of the buying process, is more common than an exception. And when they meet the dynamics commence. Label the stakeholders accordingly in your CRM tool.
2. Willingness To Change
There are four categories here and each stakeholder falls into one of them. You have Allies, who listen with great integrity to your insights and the risks you mention of not making a change. They agree with you that a change is needed but once you leave the building they are not actively promoting that view. Change Champions on the other hand do. They will lobby for your suggested change after you have met with them or when you finish the call. And then you have Opposers, they resist change. They may see the need for change but have other ideas on how to achieve better business results. Naturally, there are also stakeholders that wish to remain neutral. They sit on the fence until someone else makes the first move. Often they are followers. You need more Allies and Change Champions. They will do work for you when meeting with the other stakeholders.
3. Commitment Status and the value you trade
Documenting the Commitment Status of the stakeholders you have spoken with, will help you to determine your next action. After each meeting ask yourself, what is their commitment to the next meeting with you, what are they willing to discuss and what will you offer in exchange?
When it comes to documenting who is involved in the buying process and their roles, often you find in salespeople’s CRM tool not much more then Decision Makers, Influencers, and Users. Rarely you find anything regarding where stakeholders are in the buying process, their willingness to change, their commitment status, and the value you need to trade at the next meeting. In the new way of selling these are clues that will lead you to the key of the treasure chest.
BTW these three Buying Room handles are also great tools for self-coaching and to be coached on.
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