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Knowing When Your Customer Is Ready To Buy

by Nick Ehnot | 02.26.14

The most important aspect of the buying and selling process is understanding the needs and goals of your potential client. The process of discovery will provide the seller with information about the needs, pains, and wants of the customer. It will in turn uncover important information about the seller’s capabilities, value proposition, and growth roadmap.

There are typically triggers at each stage of the discovery process that will guide the next move. Perhaps you find out that the customer’s top initiative for the year aligns directly with your value proposition or product offering. This is a sure-fire sign that you can start to dig deeper into their company or brand. Conversely, you may find out they are in no position to explore the idea further.

Think of the discovery process as a timeline involving a 2-way conversation. Some key pieces of information to uncover early in this process are level of interest, timeframe, who is involved in the decision (who writes the check), and what the potential client views as “success.” Details including pricing, legal, and operational procedures will follow.

Perhaps the most pivotal piece of information to understand is that definition of success. You will surely be set up for failure if do not fully understand the psychology behind the clients motivation and what they view as a successful deal.

A few things to keep in mind during each phone conversation and email chain:

  • Who needs to be involved in this decision?
  • How is a new partnership or client relationship typically handled internally?
  • Who will run point for each party?
  • What is an appropriate “next-step” for follow up?
  • Are there any specific timelines to be aware of?

The discovery process is simple; learn as much about the client as possible. Cross your t’s on the obvious and tangible elements by asking early questions about decision makers, timelines, size of the deal, etc. Throughout those conversations and while you build the personal relationship; understand their motives and their view of success. Simply put, knowledge is power and the quickest way to gaining knowledge is by asking a lot of good questions.

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