As Seth Godin, best-selling author and world-renowned marketing guru shares, “The thing about information is that information is more valuable when people know it.”
Have you ever found yourself within the final stage of a buyer’s decision process, wishing that you knew what your buyer was thinking and what else you could do to influence his or her decision? In a recent study by DoubleCheck Research, 63% of buyers shared that they would, in fact, be willing to answer key questions related to their decision processes. The key, however, is that their willingness to share is not with the salesperson or the provider, but with a neutral third party.
We refer to this as the “stranger effect.” People are inherently more open to sharing with someone who has no interest in the topic of conversation. Intrigued? Let’s dig deeper.
Of the 25 executives that responded, 13 were C-level, with the remainder holding a VP-level title. The combined revenue of the respondent companies was in excess of $164 billion. These folks are serious, seasoned buyers.
The executives that responded positively also shared their comfort levels with answering questions regarding the salesperson, sales and product demo experiences, their opinion of the product and its alignment with their needs, feedback on the customer reference process and their view on the provider’s reputation, the competition, and general objections. What we found is that, if buyers agree to the process, they’re all in, with the majority expressing a high level of comfort talking about each area.
As someone who conducts win-loss analysis for a living, I speak with buyers of enterprise technology daily, often following an evaluation and selection process. I use their feedback to guide my clients toward a more effective pre-sales process. Recently, during a client meeting, I was presenting the results of a set of win-loss interviews to the executive team of a SaaS-based solution provider. While digging into my competitive set, I was abruptly interrupted by the head of sales who said, “This is great information. It would be even better if we had it prior to losing the deal! Can you do that?” To that executive, the data clearly shows that the answer is “yes”—buyers are ready and willing to share insights on their decision-making activities.
As sales professionals, why not follow suit? Let’s choose to add pre-decision interviews to our own processes!