Understanding Your Prospects Readiness To Buy

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Ask any highly successful sales or marketing professional and they'll tell you that the more you understand the mindset of your prospective client, the more effective you'll be in crafting sales and marketing messages that resonate positively.

One key component of your client's mindset is their readiness to buy.

While we may not have a great amount of control over this, it's important that we understand the client's buying mindset. It can take four different forms.

The first is what's called the Building Mindset. The client views their current situation as one in which there is opportunity for growth. When a client is in a building mindset they are ready to buy goods or services that can help them achieve the results they want. Prospects in this mindset tend to be most interested in hearing about specific features and benefits and are less concerned (although not oblivious) to how your product compares to the competition. The focus is on how specifically your services can help them achieve their particular goal.

The more you can focus on the specifics the more effective your proposal will be to a buyer in this buying mode.

Conversely, there are times when your client is in Pain. Again, the client is in the mode of needing to buy goods and services, but they will buy from the person who can eliminate the pain the quickest. Speedy removal of the pain is the primary objective of the client. Given a choice between building and pain, you can rest assured that alleviating pain will always take precedent over building.

Not being aware of whether your prospect is in a building or pain mindset is often a common problem. Although you may assume that the client is in one mindset you need to be prepared to quickly shift gears if it becomes apparent that your initial assumption is incorrect.

The advantages of having clients in either a pain or building mindset is that you know they're going to be open to buying services that will help them grow their businesses or alleviate the pain. The most challenging buying mode is what we call Happy State. That's when the needs of the customer are pretty well served by the products or services he's currently using. When the client is in this happy state there are a couple of things we can try to reinvigorate the need to buy.

The first is to let them know about trouble or pain that may be headed their way. In order to be credible, the more you can discuss specific examples of the problems others are facing in their industry, the more attention you're going to get. Naturally, in order for this strategy to be effective you've got to be completely up to speed on what's going on in their industry. You've got to be reading what your customers are reading, attending the professional association meetings, and learning about the issues that that are of most importance to them.

While giving your clients insights about the future is one strategy to move them off the happy mindset, an alternative strategy is to readjust their thinking about their business performance. This is particularly effective when you know that your client's competitors are achieving greater levels of success than your client is.

"Yes Ms. Client what you're achieving is good, however I must tell you that Your Chief Competitor just reported earnings that are 15% greater. We've done some investigating about how they achieved those results and I think we could help you do the same or better."

Either of these strategies gives you a fighting chance of getting your client out of the happy state and into a position where they are interested in learning more about your products or services. Think about it from your own company's perspective. Even if you were satisfied and content, if I was to come to you with information about why your competitors were more successful, wouldn't you want to know how they're getting those results?

When a client is in the happy mindset it's generally easier to sell growth than it is pain avoidance. Unfortunately, we are usually short sighted and hope that bad events won't hit us directly. It's far more fun and sexy to grow a business than it is to focus on problems. It's one of those terrible ironies that it's very difficult to sell pain unless the person is actually experiencing it. However, if you have an appreciation for both mindsets you can quickly switch gears and position your presentation in a way that is most likely to be received favorably.

The fourth mindset is Fantasy Land, and unfortunately there isn't too much you can do when your client is in this mindset, except wait. In the fantasy land mode the client thinks they are doing wonderfully, when in fact their results are terrible. Reality just hasn't hit them yet. They're living in a dream world. Although there is nothing you can do short-term to change their mind, the good news is that sooner or later reality will hit and then the prospect will most likely fall into the pain mode.

From a strategic standpoint you want to know the buying mode of your clients since this will give you clues for your speeches, articles and other follow-up activities.

For example, one of the challenges people face when they prepare a presentation or begin to write an article is that they don't know what to speak or write about. A helpful idea is to focus on the business issues your clients are facing and the kinds of results they're looking for.

In other words, discuss the buying mode that they're in.

If you follow this strategy it is likely that your article or speech will have a broad industry appeal, since if something pains one company, there's a high probability that others are also impacted.

This is yet another advantage of making sure you understand the buying mindset of your prospective clients.