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It's harder to get some customers to decide than others. It isn't necessarily related to the quality of your product or service or your sales skills.
There are, in fact, two types of reasons why someone buys:
- Those who need to buy (they're looking for a supplier), and
- Those who could buy (they aren't aware of a need).
We call those "why me" sales and "why" sales, respectively.
Even though "why me" sales are usually easier to close, good salespeople focus their discussions on the "why" instead of the "why me."
Let me explain.
How to distinguish between the two types of reasons?
It's crucial for a rep to be able to identify whether they're in a "why" or "why me" situation. Indeed, what needs to get done before a sale concludes varies greatly depending on the type of sale reps find themselves in. Unfortunately, many representatives struggle to adjust.
How to adapt your sale to different client-reasons
"Why me" reasons to buy
These opportunities are generally easier to close because customers are ready to buy and will do so. They're in listening mode and immediately adopt a positive and open attitude. These types of clients expect to spend money, and all that's left to decide is which supplier to choose.
This type of reason is more frequent with recurring expenses or when a client must buy because their contract is up or one of their critical assets breaks.
Products that tend to fulfill "why me" needs are:
- The raw material a manufacturing company needs;
- Office supplies;
- A leased car.
Some services also fall into the "why me" category, including:
- Internet services;
- Mortgage broker services;
- A notary services.
If that's your situation, your reps will find themselves in competition with all the companies that offer similar goods or services. It'll then come down to reps thinking about how to differentiate themselves and making the potential customer understand "why you" is the best choice.
"Why" reasons to buy
"Why" purchases aren't usually planned. Therefore, even if the client is open to the idea of investing, spending isn't a priority, and he/she probably doesn't have a budget allocated for the expense.
When that's the case, the main competitor is the status quo. In other words, reps are up against companies deciding that their current situation is tolerable.
The representative must, therefore, identify the customer's compelling reason to buy. Compelling reasons are the famous "why" a prospect should invest now. Once identified, this incentive is a powerful sales lever because it justifies the potential purchase both rationally and emotionally.
A costly mistake...
The most common mistake with both types of sale is to adopt a "why me" attitude with customers who aren't ready to buy yet.
Imagine someone telling you something's the best on the market when you don't believe you need it... Even if it's the "best," you probably wouldn't buy it.
The most strategic companies have understood that "why" sales are the most lucrative and when reps excel at this kind of approach, the "why me" becomes almost superfluous.
By acting early in the sales process, reps get a valuable head start over their competitors. Adopting a "why" approach positions salespeople as consultants: a resource person who can have a positive influence on their client's decisions.
This approach is only valuable if the potential customer is convinced and chooses to buy directly from you. If your reps gain the interest of your prospects, but their potential clients still decide to examine all their options, something's wrong.
If it happens regularly, review your reps' approach and analyze the effectiveness of your sales process.