Aiding Customer Decision Making
Some prospects have a process in mind when they are looking to buy: research, evaluate, select, agree the price, purchase. They may have a deadline as to when they need the product or service, or they may want it “as soon as possible”. Everybody likes these prospects, they know what they are doing and don’t waste anybody’s time.
Other prospects are not that organised and may challenge your sales technique. They may not have a deadline. They may not even know what it is they need, or if they want it all. Their budget may be ill-defined. These prospects need help making the final decision to buy – “help” as in “the final push”!
What is a Compelling Event?
If you have a prospect who likes what they see, is happy with the price, but just can’t seem to place the order, then you need a Compelling Event. A compelling event is something that forces a decision. Some prospects will have their own compelling events:
- New financial year: they want the solution ready, or at least decided, by the beginning of the new financial year
- Management Target: The purchaser has been given a target to get the solution in by a certain date
- Legislation: new laws, often compliance related, mandate that a system is in place by a certain date
- Current issue: the prospect and their business has an ongoing issue which is causing pain and needs to be fixed as soon as possible
- Their existing supplier has terminated their contract, or has had it terminated, and it expires on a certain date
- Budget year end: they need to spend the money by the end of the fiscal year, as it is in this year’s budget but may not be in next year’s. Large companies and government agencies in particular have this issue, if they don’t spend the money before the end of the financial year, they lose it.
You Need Action Now!
But what if that date is nine months away? Then you can try to bring it forward. “If you want the CRM system to go live on January 1st, then you need to allow one month for user training, another month for beta testing, three months for set up. And we need to book our consultants another three months in advance. And it is going to take you one month to get a purchase order approved by your purchasing system. So that is nine months from today – you’d better start working on that PO right now!”
Of course, non of the above is relevant with Really Simple Systems CRM, we get customers up and running by the end of a week!
Creating a Compelling Event
If the customer has no deadline to make a decision by, and doesn’t seem minded to order in the near future, then you need to create a Compelling Event for them. What that might be will depend on what your business is, but here are some ideas:
- There is a price rise next month, if you can send me the order by the end of the month I can let you have it next month at today’s price
- It is our year end this month, we have some special incentives to close business by then, if you sign now I’m allowed to offer you 12.5%
- The model you want is being replaced by a new model in two month’s time, I can let you have this one at a discount
- End of Season Sale! Everything 25% off!
- The exchange rate has moved, next month it will be more expensive
- I can’t book out the service staff without a PO from you, and they have some big projects coming up. We need to get them allocated to your project or we’ll lose them
- The factory is closing down for the annual summer break, we need to get your order in a month before that
Before You Go
Beware of simply offering a discount without a plausible end date. If you can offer 10% off now, why can’t you offer that next month, or the month after? You need a believable reason as why the offer won’t last. Same for quarterly discounts, the next quarter end will only be three months’ away.
If you think creatively, you’ll find some plausible Compelling Events for your business too. The prospect needs your product, do them a favour and help them get off the fence!