Creating an Effective Map – The Buying Process


Greetings friends,

In the last post on setting goals we touched briefly on the aspects of training, quota, and territory assignment.  In this posting I would like to explore a fundamental measurement of success for a sales person.  This is the outcome of closing a sale.  My view of the terrain in the “sales person/buyer exchange” is one where the power to buy rests solely with my buyer. Let’s spend a few minutes using this lens to identify the steps we would consistently observe in the buying process.  Since we are looking at this from the buyer’s perspective perhaps a better outcome for the high performing sales person would be observing the buyer getting his expected results from the purchase!

Consider these events:

  1. Our buyer has a need and is motivated (ahead of other competing priorities) to make a change.
  2. Our buyer has the ability to make a change.
  3. Our buyer can articulate how my product or service will help her meet her need.
  4. Our buyer believes the risks and costs of making the change are outweighed by expected benefits of making the change.
  5. Our buyer has resources (money/budget) to buy and the resources (time/people available) to address his need.
  6. If the buyer is buying from me, he believes that I will, better than any other alternative, help ensure the greatest opportunity for his success.
  7. Having already made the purchase decision our buyer has confirmed she is now seeing her expected results.

We will come back to each of these topics in future posts.  For now, let me leave you with these thoughts:

  1. Take a look at your “sales process or methodology.”  If it has not been documented, consider doing so.  How are each of these items facilitated and tracked as they are completed?  Remember these steps will occur with or without you. Your ability to predict (or forecast) success will be directly linked to your success in anticipating and adding value to each step.
  2. In a business to business sale it’s very likely that an exchange will occur with a   funding executive or someone other than your primary contact.  This individual will make or approve the final buying decision. Are you anticipating this event in your planning? How might a high performing sales person be proactive in helping this event occur without unnecessary delay and in seeing a positive outcome of this inevitable step?
  3. Next to helping your buyer get to this point, make it a top priority to be able to clearly articulate your buyer’s needs, motivation to change and how your product or service will uniquely help your buyer meet her needs.   In addition to getting better at predicting the likelihood of success in each engagement, it is an excellent step in ensuring the high performing sales person’s continual growth as an effective prospector and value add resource to his buyers!

In my next posting we will discuss how a high performing sales person or organization might articulate the buying steps into it’s personalized framework or sales process.  At another future point we will come back to this topic when we explore the interesting topic of forecasting!

Your Salesman for Life!


Quote on my mind:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”