Driving Consensus: Overlooked and Misunderstood

Congratulations on making excellent progress with the new way of selling. With the buyer’s perspective, your preparation has improved significantly, and your customer conversations are about your contact’s business challenges and how you can help. Your results are improving. But let’s face it: not every opportunity turns into gold. There are still too many price-driven conversations, frustrations about extended sales cycles and opportunities that seem to stall forever. One essential skill that overcomes these hurdles is learning how to drive consensus effectively. A skill often overlooked and misunderstood.

Let’s look at your solution proposal from a Buyer’s perspective; Change is not easy, not fun and not cheap. Your prospect realizes they need to stop doing something and start looking at something new. But to them, your solution looks risky, even disruptive, and this makes them unsure. In addition, they are also asked to pay more for the proposed change. No wonder your contact wants to reach out to their peers for more opinions. They want to consult with operations, finance and other functions to check on other alternatives. They will go back and forth with the incumbent supplier asking them to fix identified gaps. They will only have the courage to step to their executive manager once they have ticked these boxes and feel confident that they have done all they could and are now armed with a solid business case for change.

From the seller’s perspective, you need to enable your contact who believes in your proposed change. Show empathy and awareness that your change champion is now dealing with an increased number of stakeholders from different roles, functions, and geographies to get your proposal signed. On top of that, all these stakeholders are also busy finding solutions that contribute to better growth, lowering costs and increasing profit. The hidden competitor is within the customer’s organisation who have different priorities, goals and ideas and compete with yours and your change champion.

Gaining consensus is the new closing. If done well, you overcome all of the above-described hurdles.

Driving Consensus infogram

Start small, to end big. With your help, stakeholders will move from a ME perspective to a WE perspective. They see commonalities they did not see before. Your facilitation connects the functions. Without your help, they drive themselves apart, fighting about who should have the highest priority. But through your insights, ideas and views they realize how a change catapults their company into new strategic growth and will benefit every function. Gaining consensus is the new closing. But, you need to know how to drive it; A skill often overlooked and misunderstood.

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