It is surely the case that every salesperson has at one time or another imagined how drastically they could improve their sales performance if only they could know precisely what potential buyers are thinking at the various stages of the sales process. Although a clairvoyant salesperson is not yet a possibility — as far as we know, of course — there are a few relevant tips that make it possible for any salesperson to gain greater insight into what each buyer is thinking.
Adopt the Buyer’s Mindset
“Learn to think like the buyer,” is perhaps the most common piece of advice offered to sales personnel. It is important to understand that the buyer’s mindset will shift fairly significantly throughout the process, so the salesperson has to adapt according to this shifting mindset in order to reap any kind of reward.
In the earliest stage of the buying process, buyers are often quite eager and excited by the prospective deal. As every salesperson knows, this eagerness can quickly fade away, which is why it is necessary to understand the reasons a buyer’s excitement level can wane so quickly that they walk away from a deal that once seemed like a lock.
Establish a Rapport Through Timely Communication
During the early stage of the proposal process, sales personnel have the opportunity to take advantage of the previously noted stage of initial buyer excitement. How the salesperson chooses to take advantage will guide how the remainder of the process plays out, so it is much better to leverage that excitement level to build a sense of rapport and mutual trust with the client. This is best achieved with regular, timely communication between the two parties.
It is worth noting that timely communication is not the easiest thing to accomplish, and contacting a prospect too often or even at an inconvenient time can quickly sour any goodwill that has been built up. This is why it is so important to understand precisely when a prospect has opened a sales proposal and which parts of the proposal they have read. Fortunately for sales personnel, clairvoyance is not necessary to gain access to this information.
One way to accomplish this is available through Proposable’s proposal software platform, which provides immediate insight regarding when the prospect has opened the sales proposal and which sections they have reviewed. The salesperson can utilize this information to gain insight into what the prospect is thinking regarding the proposal and can then reach out to the prospect accordingly.
Is Your Buyer Seeking Gain or Fleeing Loss?
When adopting the mindset of a buyer, sales personnel often make the mistake of believing buyers are more likely to be interested in the gains available to them through the proposed deal. Although it seems intuitive to believe this positive and optimistic approach is best, the simple fact of the matter is that most buyers are more likely to respond to information that outlines how a deal will help them eliminate something negative, which is based on the concept of “fleeing loss.”
This concept is rooted in the capacity for imagination in buyers, as focusing on future gain requires the buyer to create a new and entirely different version of reality. Fleeing loss, on the other hand, only requires the buyer to think about some negative aspect of their current reality and what it might be like to no longer have to deal with that aspect.
Of course, this does not mean that sales personnel should solely focus on the concept of fleeing loss; it only means that the potential gains should be noted in the sales proposal along with information outlining how the proposed deal will effectively eliminate some negative issue the buyer currently experiences.
Take Advantage of Software and Data Analytics
Timely communication is just one area in which advances in software and data analytics can benefit sales personnel. Through the aforementioned proposal software platform, sales personnel can review exactly how the prospective buyer interacted with the proposal and review the relevant data analytics to determine what they may be thinking.
If, for example, a prospective client opened a proposal and read each page up to a specific point, the salesperson can review the specific page and consider if the information on that page caused the prospect to close the document. In that case, the salesperson can ask specific questions of the prospect to determine what changes could be made to make the deal more palatable. Those same analytics can also be used to analyze the behavior of all prospective buyers, as the compiled data may reveal that one specific aspect of the proposal is particularly troubling to the bulk of potential buyers.
Overcome Natural Suspicion in Buyers With Social Proof
A sales proposal naturally arouses suspicion in every buyer, especially since each buyer is keenly aware of the fact that the seller has something to gain. Even with a strong rapport and sense of trust established early in the sales process, sales personnel will still have to overcome this natural predisposition to doubt.
In these circumstances, it is critical to understand that the buyer is seeking objective insight, which is best supplied through social proof. Sales personnel who supply social proof before the buyers request it will successfully allay any suspicions held by the buyer. As an added benefit, sales personnel who offer social proof — while also abiding by the aforementioned tips — will clearly demonstrate the unique ability to truly understand what the buyer is thinking.