Customer Experience News & Trends

Close more sales by understanding the buying cycle

The more you know about the customer buying cycle, the better you can prepare to close sales.

Prospects pass through these seven phases when they make buying decisions: 

  1. Status quo. The first phase of the buying cycle is that time when prospects are enjoying the status quo and have not yet recognized a need for change.
  2. Recognition of needs. Prospects become dissatisfied with their existing situation and begin to realize a need to solve a problem or exploit an opportunity. The role of the salesperson is to uncover the source of dissatisfaction and increase the prospect’s perception of its intensity and urgency.
  3. Evaluation of options. Once they’ve agreed on the need for change, prospects then start considering alternatives for resolving their dissatisfaction. It’s up to the salespeople to help prospects understand how their products or services can best address their needs.
  4. Resolution of concerns. Buyers tentatively select a vendor, but before signing the contract, they will assess any associated risks and consequences. Salespeople need to uncover these concerns and help to resolve them.
  5. Decision. At this point, the deal is agreed on and the contract is signed.
  6. Implementation. After the sale is made, the customer begins to introduce, test and install the seller’s solution. The seller’s responsibility is to help the customer adopt the solution and overcome any implementation challenges.
  7. Changes over time. The cycle does not end just because the customer successfully implements a solution. There will be changes in the account — company strategy may change, or reorganizations or mergers may occur. Each of these changes offers opportunities for the seller to strengthen the relationship by helping customers address additional problems and opportunities.

Adapted from: “Winning the Battles for Sales,” by John Golden, president and CEO of Huthwaite, one of the world’s leading sales performance improvement organizations.

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