The Silver Bullet in Sales
By Craig Elias
We have been conditioned to believe that in sales there is no such
thing as a silver bullet. I can tell you that there is. It is called
timing — getting in front of the right buyer at exactly the right
time. Research shows that you are five times more likely to make a
sale when you have the right timing.
Timing and Buying Modes:
To have the right timing
you need to understand that, no matter what you sell or to whom,
buyers are always in one of three buying modes:
1) Status Quo:
Status quo is when a buyer believes the product or service they are
currently using meets, or exceeds, their current needs.
2) Window of Dissatisfaction™:
A Window of Dissatisfaction occurs after a buyer realizes that their
current solution no longer meets their needs but before they
start the process of searching for alternative solutions.
3) Searching for Alternatives: Searching for alternatives is
when a buyer realizes their current solution no longer meets their
needs and is actively searching for alternative solutions.
Buying Modes and Trigger Events:
Buyers shift from the buying mode of
status quo into the Window of Dissatisfaction, and from the Window
of Dissatisfaction into searching for alternatives because they
experience a Trigger Event, or a series of Trigger Events. You will
sell more, sell sooner, and sell at a higher price when you can
identify the Trigger Events that shift buyers into the Window of
Dissatisfaction and get to these highly motivated buyers before your
Trigger Events and Prices:
It’s important to
understand the impact that Trigger Events have on prices. As a rule,
buyers pay for perceived value – the perceived difference between
your solution and their current solution – and a buyer’s perception
of value changes as Trigger Events shift buyers from one buying mode
When a buyer is in the Status Quo buying mode, their perceived value
of their current solution is high. This results in the perceived
difference in value between your solution and their current solution
not being enough to motivate them to buy from you. When you try
selling to buyers in the buying mode of Status Quo, you are likely
to spend a lot of time selling with little or no chance of actually
making a sale.
When buyers experience a Trigger Event they move into the Window of
Dissatisfaction and their perceived value of their current solution
is significantly reduced. Now the buyer’s perceived difference in
value between your solution and their current solution increases to
the point where you are much more likely to make a sale. By being
first with buyers who recently entered the Window of
Dissatisfaction, not only are you more likely to make a sale, you
are also likely to have a shorter sales cycle, and when you win the
business it’s likely to be at a much higher price.
When buyers are not intercepted by a savvy sales person, another
Trigger Event or a series of Trigger Events will cause them to
become so dissatisfied with their current solution that they pass
through the Window of Dissatisfaction and start searching for
alternatives. Now the perceived value of your solution is reduced to
the difference between your solution and the next best solution
proposed by a competitor. When you try selling to buyers who are
searching for alternatives you are less likely to make the sale and
IF you win the business, you are likely to have a much longer sales
cycle and a much lower price.
Real Value of Leveraging Trigger Events:
The real value of leveraging Trigger Events is you spend more time
selling to buyers who are in the Window of Dissatisfaction. When you
sell to buyers who are in the Window of Dissatisfaction you are most
likely to get loyal, appreciative customers who will represent 80%
of your profits and gladly provide you with a reference, or that
most treasured thing in sales, referrals. If you miss the Window of
Dissatisfaction and try selling to buyers who are already searching
for alternatives, you are more likely to get those peripheral,
disloyal, price sensitive, customers who will be 80% of your
headaches, represent only 20% of your profits, and are unlikely to
be a reference or give you referrals.
Three Types of Trigger Events:
Trigger Events that shift buyers from
Status Quo into the Window of Dissatisfaction fall into one of three
1) Bad Experience:
The buyer has a bad experience with a product/service, people, or a
provider: For example, a product/service change creates
dissatisfaction and the buyer gets ready to move on.
2) Change / Transition: The buyer has a change or
transition in people, places, or priorities. For example, a change
in the buyer who purchases your product or the person who sells your
product to the buyer.
3) Awareness: Buyers become aware of the need to
change for one of three reasons: Legal, risk avoidance, economics.
For example, buying from you is less risky than continuing to buy
from their current supplier.
Identifying the Best Trigger Events for What You Sell:
day, decision makers experience Trigger Events that shift them into
the Window of Dissatisfaction and turn them into highly motivated
buyers. In order to get to these highly motivated buyers before your
competition you need to identify the specific Trigger Events for the
products/services that you sell.
One way to identify the Trigger Events for what you sell is to do a
Won Sales Analysis.
Here is something I find very interesting, when you search Google
for the term sales analysis - by using quotes around the words
“sales analysis” - you’ll find somewhere around one million pages on
how to conduct a “sales analysis”. When you want to understand how
you lost a sale and you search Google for the term “lost sales
analysis”, you will find around 1,000 web pages. When you want to
understand how you won a sale and you search Google for the term
“won sales analysis” you will find, on my last check,
less than 100
pages. Of all the pages on the Internet that talk
about sales analysis, less than 0.1% talk about how to analyze the
sales you lose and less than .01% talk about how to win more
business by analyzing the sales that you have already won.
There is a silver bullet in sales, its called timing — being first
with buyers who recently entered the Window of Dissatisfaction.
You can create timing by identifying, finding, and capitalizing on
the Trigger Events that shift buyers into the Window of
Dissatisfaction and putting in place ways to repeatedly get to these
recently motivated buyers before your competition.
By being first with these highly motivated buyers you will sell
more, sell sooner, and sell at a higher price.
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