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How to Increase Close Rates By Knowing Your Buying Group

Visionary, credible, and capable of driving change, 36% of buying group members fall into the Mobilizer category.Let’s say you’re in hot pursuit of that sale. You’ve wisely identified your mobilizer and taken the time to help them map out a compelling vision and a plan to share that vision with the rest of the stakeholders in the buying group.

That sale is in the bag, right?

Wrong. It’s not enough to coach your mobilizer to a generic, “one-size-fits-all” plan of attack. Why? Because the buying group is made up of an average of 5.4 unique individuals, each with their own personalities, agendas, priorities, and biases. As discussed in our previous post, “Avoid Consensus By Veto: 4 Ways the Buying Group Has Changed,” under the new rules of the consensus sale, any one of these individuals holds the power to veto your sale right out of existence.

Conclusion: all your planning and scheming with your mobilizer will be useless if you don’t uncover and take into account the motivations and priorities of each stakeholder.

So with buying groups growing ever larger, how can salespeople get to know each stakeholder? Of course, your mobilizer is your most valuable resource to increase close rates. But it helps to know the right information to look for. Start with these.

1. Know who you’re dealing with

According to a presentation given by SAVO at the 2014 Sales Enablement Summit, there are three distinct groups within the typical buying group: Mobilizers, Talkers, and Blockers.

Visionary, credible, and capable of driving change, 36% of buying group members fall into the Mobilizer category.

Known for their tendency to participate in conversations but fold when it comes to truly advocating for a purchase, Talkers are a significantly smaller group at 26%.

Surprisingly, at 38%, the largest group is that of Blockers, those stakeholders who, for whatever reason, aren’t willing to entertain thought-provoking questions that might upset the status quo or provide salespeople with useful information.

As you coach your mobilizer, it’s vital that you ask questions that will help you place each member of the buying group in their appropriate category. This information will have a tremendous influence on how you and your mobilizer move forward.

2. Know what they value most

Numerous studies have found that, while stats like ROI or % of performance improvement—measurements meant to demonstrate what is referred to as “Company Value” by CEB—can get your product considered, they’re not powerful enough to get stakeholders to advocate for it.

So what is powerful enough? According the Patrick Spenner of CEB, the answer lies in what he calls Performance Value (i.e. the value of working better and achieving goals) and especially Identity Value (i.e. the value of getting respect, career advancement, popularity, etc.):

“[B]oth Performance Value and Identity Value... motivate advocacy… [B]uyers simply care more about Identify Value than any other form of value. The best selling point is therefore not unrivaled speed, power or stability. It is the sense of pride buyers derive from the purchase.”

Although you might be tempted to lean on the old standby’s of Company Value, you and your mobilizer should be asking how you can better demonstrate the Personal Value your product will create for each stakeholder.

3. Finding common ground

Finally, it’s not enough to know the temperament of and what matters to each stakeholder. Of course, this won’t be easy, not with your buying group more diverse than ever before, in terms of the groups they represent and their priorities. The best way to confront these clashing values is to focus on those priorities and values, like reducing risk or saving money, that overlap between all stakeholders.

By doing this, you will be able to communicate with the group as a whole in ways that will resonate with each of them as individuals—and maybe even move more of them to advocate for your product. It will also keep you from over-personalizing your messages in ways that drive them away from each other, instead of toward consensus.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Consider it another harsh reality of the new buying group: more stakeholders, more personalities to manage, more angles to consider. Again, this highlights just how crucial your mobilizer is to your success. But with the right stakeholder in your corner and by asking the right questions, your and your mobilizer’s plan to drive the buying group toward consensus will be tailor-made for each individual and much more likely to succeed.

To learn more about how sales can build stakeholder buying consensus, download our ebook “5 Keys to Closing Sales Through Consensus” here.

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