28/09/10

By Guy Aston, Business Director, Mid-Corporate solutions, Huthwaite International

Sellers often overlook this phase, as, whilst it’s an inevitable part of the psychology of decision-making, it’s a hidden part of the buying process. In this phase, close to the decision, the customer’s attention begins to shift to the consequences and down-stream risks associated with any particular offer. Buyers begin to question the claims made by sellers and may be drawn towards what they consider to be the lowest risk option. This can take the form of a market leader, an incumbent supplier or the cheapest offer — regardless of quality.

Sales that despite progressing smoothly so far, suddenly stall for no apparent reason, are classic signs of unresolved concerns. At this phase the key question in the customer’s mind is “what if it goes wrong?”

The first sign that this situation may be occurring is sudden cessation of communication on the customer's part or a reopening of issues you believed to have been resolved. A fatal mistake is to see this customer behaviour as the opening gambit in a negotiation.

At this stage, world-class sales organisations will be:

• Identifying potential concerns early and pre-handling them

• Recognising and acknowledging concerns that do exist and helping the customer resolve them.

At this stage, typical sales organisations will be:

• Ignoring or minimizing concerns

• Pressuring the customer to make a decision

Find out more at www.huthwaite.co.uk

Huthwaite International

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