Understanding What Matters Most to Buyers: A Strategic Guide

Understanding What Matters Most to Buyers: A Strategic Guide
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Understanding What Matters Most to Buyers: A Strategic Guide
To influence and sell, you need to understand what matters most to buyers.  Understanding what matters most to buyers isn’t just a competitive edge — it’s a necessity. Savvy sales leaders know that linking their offerings with the core desires and needs of their target customers is paramount.

But how does one truly tap into the psyche of the buyer and decipher what drives their decisions? Here’s a deep dive into understanding the priorities of your buyers and turning that insight into a strategic sales advantage.

Answers You Need as a Salesperson
Top solution sellers know that it is hard to differentiate yourself from the competition unless you know answers to a few basic sales questions like:

  • Who is making the decision?
  • What is the key decision making criteria?
  • What does the key decision maker want, fear, and need?

The Sales Context of Understanding What Matters Most to Buyers
Most buyers experience the sales process as a tug-of-war between their interests and the seller’s interests.  Sellers in most solution selling training workshops are trying to persuade them to buy their solution at the highest possible price, and buyers are trying to spend the least amount of money to meet internal targets within specific parameters.  Sadly, most sellers do not uncover the true answers to their questions during the sales process.  That is a win-lose construct that sets most sales calls up for failure.

Most buyers are emotionally closed to embracing a new solution and will resist when sellers use data or sales objection handling skills to try to change their mind.  For example, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences asked Republicans and Democrats to follow social media with beliefs that contradicted their own, after one month, the participants became even more entrenched in their views.  Simply pushing harder does not influence others.

The failure to influence may not be immediately apparent.  It may sound something like “Thanks for the time, great stuff.  We’ll look it over.” That is not a buyer ready to move to the next steps in the buying process.

How to Better Understand What Matters Most to Buyers
According to research by Brevet, only 13% of customers believe a salesperson understands their needs.  Why?  Because traditional business sales training does not work.

The truth is that a customer’s willingness to listen is more important than your ability to ask effective sales questions.  So how can sellers create more openness?  Start by:

  1. Putting the Customer First
    Buyers tell us that most salespeople are only interested in what they can sell them. Buyers do not believe that most sellers are interested in what’s happening to them personally or professionally.  Buyers do not believe that most sellers are trying to help them to succeed.

    Putting the customer first starts in the heart, not in the head.  B2B Sellers need to genuinely believe that their success as a seller is linked to their ability to truly help their clients to succeed.

    Does your sales team consistently put their clients first and foremost?

  2. Listening Beyond Words
    The first step in understanding what matters most to buyers is to listen, but not just to what they say. Often, the true drivers behind a purchase decision lie beneath the surface of verbal communication. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, the context of their statements, and the emotional undertones.

    Buyers often reveal more in their hesitations, their excitement, and their frustrations than in the actual words they use. Effective sellers treat every conversation and circumstance as new and every buyer as unique.  This allows them to be curious and not to skip ahead to a solution that may not fit.

    Can your sales team consistently uncover the emotions and intentions behind what buyers are saying?

  3. Being Empathetic
    If you want buyers to share what truly matters most, they need to feel understood and valued as individuals. This means validating their point of view and speaking directly to their unique preferences and circumstances. It means communicating that you care through body language, eye contact, and genuine verbal acknowledgement of what you are hearing.

    It also means acknowledging what the words imply and ensuring that your assumptions are accurate. You will know you are on the right path when your sales team can feel what the buyer is feeling.  To create buyer openness, it is critical to focus more on the buyer than the sales information that you need.

    Would your buyers rate your sellers as being empathetic enough to their goals, problems, and needs?

  4. Identifying Core Values
    Every buyer is driven by a set of core values, beliefs, and decision drivers. These could range from mitigating risk to disrupting the status quo. To uncover these core values, consider what buyers prioritize when making decisions. It makes a significant difference if buyers are looking for the highest quality versus being concerned with getting the best deal.

    Can you sales team uncover their buyers’ underlying values and link their approach to meet their deepest needs?

  5. Building Trust Through Transparency
    Trust is a cornerstone of any successful buyer relationship. Most buyers want to trust the brands and the people that they engage with. This means being open about your objectives, honest about your limitations, and consistent in your actions. When buyers trust sellers, they are more likely to believe that they understand and can meet their needs.

    Is your sales force transparent enough?

The Bottom Line
Understanding what matters most to buyers is about uncovering the unfiltered truth about their goals, problems, and needs. This allows consultative sellers to either quickly disqualify customers who are not a good fit or to build the foundation required to become a trusted business advisor.  Does your sales force have what it takes build customer-centered value?

To learn more about how to lift the performance of your sales team, download The 6 Top Reasons Business Sales Training Initiatives Fail

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