This post originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse, and is reprinted here with permission.
As Seth Godin, best-selling author and world-renowned marketing guru says, “The thing about information is that information is more valuable when people know it.”
Have you ever found yourself within the final stage of a buyer’s decision process, wishing you knew what your stakeholders were thinking and what else you could do to influence their decision? In a recent study by DoubleCheck Research, 63% of buyers shared that they would, in fact, be willing to answer key questions related to their decision processes. The key, however, is that their willingness to share is not with the salesperson or the vendor, but with a neutral third party.
We refer to this as the “stranger effect.” People are inherently more open to sharing with someone who has no interest in the topic of conversation. Intrigued? Let’s dig deeper.
Of the 25 executives that responded to the survey, 13 were C-level, with the remainder holding a VP-level title. The combined revenue of the respondent companies was in excess of $164 billion. These folks are serious, seasoned buyers.
The 13 C-level professionals that indicated they would be willing to give feedback also shared their comfort levels with answering questions regarding the salesperson, sales and product demo experiences, their opinion of the product and its alignment with their needs, the customer reference process, and their views on the competition and general objections. What we found is that, if buyers agree to the process, they’re all in, with the majority expressing a high level of comfort talking about each area.
As someone who conducts win-loss analysis for a living, I speak with buyers of enterprise technology daily, often following an evaluation and selection process. I use their feedback to guide my clients toward a more effective pre-sales process.
Recently, during a client meeting, I presented the results of a set of win-loss interviews to the executive team of a SaaS-based solution provider. While digging into my competitive set, I was abruptly interrupted by the head of sales, who said, “This is great information. It would be even better if we had it prior to losing the deal! Can you do that?” This data clearly shows that the answer is “yes” -- buyers are ready and willing to share insights on their decision-making activities even before the deal is finalized.
As sales professionals, why not follow suit? Let’s add pre-decision interviews to our own processes to boost our chances of winning.