In today’s consensus buying and procurement influenced world, the most important steps of the buying process happen before your customer is engaging with you. By the time the RFP or RFQ comes in – much of the decision is already made. Certainly, as a minimum, their priorities are defined.
It’s not surprising when you think how most consumers move along their path to purchase, whether it’s buying a laptop, TV or even simply choosing a restaurant. They do their research, read reviews (normally the worst first) and then select from a whittled down list.
While there are clearly differences in the buying behaviour of businesses, there are plenty of similarities to consumers. Companies also do their research and, increasingly, don’t like to be sold to. Every company claims to have a unique product, world-class support or proven ROI - so how do YOU stand out?
Anyone in the business of selling has had the frustrating experience of spending precious time and money responding to an RFP, RFT or RFQ that you were never truly in the running for. The favoured provider has probably helped structure the solution scope and left little room for any competition.
At best it’s demoralising, at worst it’s a drain on your precious resources. So why are most companies selling the way they always have whilst buyers have changed their path to purchase?
The key to standing out from the herd is to stop “selling” and to start advising. This requires an authentic voice and expert knowledge. It's a strategy that transforms your people and brand from salespeople into a trusted advisor.
Getting expert knowledge across to key individuals within target organisations and using content that resonates with their key challenges shows how uniquely placed your company is to solve the customers' key problems. Most companies know this and yet struggle to bring this to fruition as the experts are always too busy, don’t know how to do it effectively and/or are often disconnected from the people that need their advice.
Your prospects are listening to you online long before they’re actually talking to you. Show that you understand their challenges and give them confidence you can help to solve them - that way, you’ll really stand out from the herd.