As a sales person, you see the same “time-tested” tips thrown around a lot.
These mostly focus on doing your homework, asking the right questions, conveying your trustworthiness, not looking like a selfish jerk, etc. We even share many of these on our own blog. We will probably continue to do so. For one-on-one sales interactions, there's a reason these tips get spread around. They work.
But you’ll also notice a subtle pattern. In most cases, these tips focus on situations in which one salesperson is selling to one person. This pattern, whether intentional or not, turns a blind eye to the fact that the typical sales situation has changed. If you have to worry about selling to only one person, you are a member of a lucky, increasingly small minority.
In a recent post, sales guru Anthony Iannarino scratched the surface of this problem when he wrote about noncommittal buyers who need some time to think about the solution you’ve pitched to them:
“The prospect isn’t ready to buy because she has concerns. She’s concerned about spending the money. She’s not sure she is going to use the product enough to capture the value. She doesn’t know what her partner is going to say. Whatever her concern, for her it is real.”
She doesn't know what her partner is going to say. Our customers don’t live in an environment where they need only make a decision, maybe convince their boss, and then everything is a go. No, our customers live in an environment where they need to convince themselves then build consensus with their boss and four other stakeholders, according to various research from CEB and SiriusDecisions.
If most of the tips and trick articles out there are any indication, the problem of the five-person buying group is the elephant in the room. And salespeople just don’t want to acknowledge it.
We don’t focus on how to help buyers build consensus with one another—a problem that didn’t even exist 10 years ago.
We don’t change the way we design content to not just inform stakeholders, but to help them build agreement with one another.
We don’t change our sales approach to empower the most receptive stakeholder to advocate for our solution with the rest of the buying group.
These are considerations salespeople tend to ignore, only to lie awake at night fretting over them. Unfortunately, all the fretting in the world won’t change the fact that buying groups are only getting bigger. Unless salespeople want to see their time-tested tips and tricks grow more and more obsolete—while their close rates slide—they need to face the build consensus challenge with their eyes wide open.
To learn how Consensus helps buyers build consensus among large groups, click on the orange “Watch Demo” button below.