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Closing Sales: The Buy Cycle of a Salesperson Impacts Sales Outcomes

 

Published by : Frederic Lucas

Supportive Buy Cycle: a Salesperson Has a Supportive Buy Cycle When the Way He/She Makes a Major Purchase Supports Ideal Sales Outcomes

 

How a salesperson makes substantial purchases in his or her personal live impacts sales outcomes in their professional life.

 

74 % of all salespeople have non-supportive buy cycles. Those salespeople experience a 50% reduction in sales performance. In fact, a representative's buy cycle is the Sales DNA element that negatively affects sales success the most.

 

In other words, a the way a good salesperson makes an important purchase, helps him or her close more deals. 

 

A salesperson's Sales DNA plays a significant role in his or her success. Sales DNA defects act as performance barriers. The other elements that makeup Sales DNA are:

 

CAUTION: Buy cycle is the component of Sales DNA that generally causes the most resistance in salespeople. Although there is an established link between personal purchasing habits and the execution of the sales process, it remains challenging to question engrained purchasing practices.

What's a buy cycle?

Purchasing habits (or buy cycle) include all the steps and parameters that a person uses to make essential purchases. Among these steps we find:

  • Doing research
  • Comparison shopping
  • Price shopping
  • Thinking things over

 

Each person's purchasing habits vary in duration and complexity.

 

Buying habits are part of Sales DNA because the way a representative buys dictates how they sell. There's a natural mirror effect between the two because a representative is first and foremost a human being.

 

Some buy cycles are healthy and support ideal sales outcomes. In this case, it is a force that will help the sales representative effectively execute the sales process at critical moments to obtain a purchase decision from the potential customer.

 

Conversely, if the salesperson's buying habits do not support the sales outcome, he/she will not be able to guide the prospect towards a decision, resulting in an extended sales cycle, price concessions and lost sales.

 

Here's why.

Symptoms of non-supportive buy cycles

  1. Giving in to the sales objection: "I have to think about it."
  2. Accepting that their prospects need to shop around
  3. Giving discounts or decreasing the average sales price
  4. Asking sales managers for price reductions
  5. Supporting their prospects' need to research

 

1. Accepting "I have to think about it."

When a sales representative takes the time to think things through before buying, the result is: his or her sales cycle lengthen. He/she will not be able to push back when their customers want to take time before buying.

 

Let's be clear - the goal isn't to put pressure on customers to buy.

 

Representatives who make quick purchasing decisions know how to challenge the purchasing process of prospects.

 

WARNING: when I talk about this aspect, many representatives answer "So, you have to be a compulsive buyer to sell?"

 

Of course not. There is a big difference between buying everything you see or think you need, and making a quick purchase decision for a product or service that addresses a real need or problem.

 

2. Understanding for the need to comparison shop

A representative who compares brands, suppliers or stores before making purchases is vulnerable to customers who, in turn, want to shop his/her offer. That salesperson will not push back when faced with that objection even if comparison shopping reduces the likelihood of securing the sale.

 

If your company has competitors, this phenomenon impacts your sales effectiveness.

 

3. Empathizing with requiring lower prices

Each has his or her tolerance threshold regarding money, and it tends to alter the purchasing process for all transactions above this value.

 

Representatives who have a tolerance threshold lower than the price of the product or service they sell will empathize with customers who find their price high. As a result, they will aim to give discounts or decrease the average sales amount to get as close as possible to their threshold.

 

For example, the salesperson with a low money tolerance threshold will tend to sell only the "basic" product without accessories or options. He or she is convinced that their customer won't buy them, when in fact, it's his or her discomfort with a higher dollar amount that's in play.

 

4. Understanding the need to get the best price

When a salesperson buys the lowest price or with discounts, he or she opens him/herself to customers who want discounts or the better rates.

 

It's as though your prospect and rep are playing on the same team.

 

These are salespeople who are always in their sales manager's office asking for price reductions to close opportunities. Bargain hunting salespeople yield lower profit margins for their employers.

 

5. Supporting the need to research

It's easier than ever to research and compare before even (or ever) entering the real buying process. Representatives who search on the web will have support their prospects who do the same before speaking with them.

 

In the end, it'll be more difficult for these salespeople to obtain meetings if the potential customers are still looking for information. 

Where do buy cycles come from?

We often inherit our buying habits from our parents and the environment in which we grow up and can change depending on your spouse's habits.

 

You can do the exercise and think back on the critical purchases your parents made when you were a child - like a car. Did you tour different dealerships with them? Did they visit the dealership several times to negotiate? 

How to fix non-supportive buy cycles?

1. Understand which facets are dysfunctional

First, you need to try to identify purchasing cycle problems with each representative by analyzing repeated sales behaviour:

  • Which representatives systematically ask for discounts?
  • Which reps have opportunities that are slow to close after they send proposals?
  • Which salesperson need to "align" with the competition's price to get sales?

 

You can make deductions by asking these questions, but the best way to go about it is to evaluate your sales force with a scientific assessment.

 

2. Change buying habits

When you've identified the salespeople that need help, the solution to buying cycle problems is straightforward: you have to change the way representatives buy to improve how they sell.

 

I said at the outset that there is resistance to this Sales DNA element. It's not only that accepting that buying and selling behaviours mirror each other is tough, but also because dealing with the issue blurs the line between professional and personal life.

 

Sales managers need to have a healthy relationship with their representatives to help them replace their buying habits.

 

Steps to change buying habits

  1. Identify a problem or a salesperson's objective that requires them to purchase above their tolerance level
  2. Identify with your rep which product or service will solve it
  3. Ask how much money the seller wants to spend
  4. Decide to buy it
  5. Identify with the seller two places that sell what's needed
  6. With your salesperson, book the moment when you will go to the 1st location
  7. Purchase with the rep

 

The representative must then repeat these steps until the process becomes natural.

Takeaway

It's easier to work on technical sales issues, such as improving the closer competencies or improving sales objections handling, than to tackle conceptual problems such as the buy cycle.

 

Because sales performance is so much more affected by Sales DNA problems than by technical sales competency issues, using a sales-specific evaluation before implementing solutions solving your team's sales performance problems is critical.

 

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Frederic Lucas

Having founded Prima Resource in 2007, Frederic has helped hundreds of CEOs, executives and sales reps aim higher and achieve their objectives. Clients know Frederic as the person who will tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. They value his experience, the science that backs his work and the predictability of his observations and advice.

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