Why do you think buyers take so long to decide? Do you really think they want to take that long?
Think of a decision you had to make with one of your teammates, or a family member.
What was the difference between what you wanted to happen, and the others wanted to have happen?
Where did you all end up vs where you began - and what was the journey between the two?
What did you end up knowing that you didn't start off knowing - and how long into your journey did it take you to figure that out? And how did it influence the final decision?
What choice criteria did you start off with? What did you end up with? What didn't you know at the beginning that ended up being vital for a good decision at the end? And who was it on the Buying Decision Team that discovered that missing piece - or was the group collaboration the instigation for expanded thinking?
What was the process you used to get between the beginning and end? How could you have done it quicker? What did you need to know or do differently at the beginning - or was there no way of knowing this until further along the decision cycle?
How did members of your family or colleagues (your Buying Decision Team) influence the decision - and how much of the decision cycle was spent in them figuring out what you probably knew to begin with? How many arguments or fights or discussions were there?
At what point in your decision-making do you need all of the facts about the final solution possibilities (e.g. when thinking of moving, when do you need all of the data about the new house? When realizing you're overweight, when do you need all of the facts about the gym? When thinking about buying a CRM system, when do you need all of the features and benefits) - and do they shift as you move through your buying decision journey??
THE TIME IT TAKES TO DISCOVER CRITERIA IS THE LENGTH OF THE SALES CYCLE
In any of the above situations, wouldn't you rather have had a shorter decision cycle? Of course you would. But the time it takes to come up with your own answers is the length of the sales cycle. And we don't know all that we don't know when we begin the process.
The last thing buyers need is information about your solution. The first thing they need is help shortening the change management issues they have to contend with.
We can help buyers make their buying decision cycle shorter by being a GPS system for them to help them - without any bias - navigate through the route to internal buy-in.
Soooo do you want to enter at the end? or at the beginning?
The only decision that can be made in a very short time, with few internal change issues, are personal decisions that involve one person (you) and are cheap. Almost all decisions involve others - and all decisions are a change management problem.
How are you selling? How are buyers buying? And how are you getting involved at the beginning of their change management decisions - or are you sitting and waiting while they do this themselves?
About the Author:
Sharon Drew Morgen is the thought leader behind Buying Facilitation™ the new sales paradigm that focuses on helping buyers manage their buying decision. She is the author of the NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity as well as 5 other books and hundreds of articles that explain different aspects of the decision facilitation model that teaches buyers how to buy.