Hi, it’s Ben Lai from Sales Ethos. This is Part Two of How to Sell to Modern Buyers. Today, I’m going to address the topic on how to sell in complex sales situations. Complex sales has become the norm for modern selling. It is no longer the case that you can talk to just one person and then get the sale closed. You often have to deal with multiple stakeholders who have to have some kind of consensus and agreement with each other before they can go ahead with the purchase.
How to Sell in Complex Sales #1: Sell top-down
How do you go about navigating the complex sale and being successful in this modern era? My first tip for you is to sell top-down. One of the the temptations of sales people is to go in from the easy point, which is to speak to the purchasing level or the engineering level. That’s all and fine, because it is a foot in the door into that company. However, once you have navigated that way into the organization, it becomes incredibly difficult to reach other stakeholders within that organization.
Let’s just say you connect with the engineer and you want to talk to the CEO or the operations manager. It can be very difficult for them as someone who’s lower in the hierarchy to recommend you up to them. It is far better to reach out to the person who is at the top and if they decide that you need to speak to the engineer after all, you get the recommendation from there rather than the other way around. So sell top-down is the first way to deal with complex sales situations.
How to Sell in Complex Sales #2: Build relationships
The second thing is to build relationships with multiple stakeholders. This is especially true if you’re a key account manager. It is not enough just to have one really great relationship within the company. If that person decides to leave for another company or if they are replaced, then they are going to be left in a very, very challenging situation and you’re going to be on the back foot. It is strategic to build relationships with a number of stakeholders within that company to make sure you secure your place in that company and so they understand and can vouch for you if there’s a change in staff.
Now before I go into the third point, I just want to make a quick offer to those of you who are managing sales people. It’s a one-hour complementary consultation where we will deal with one of your top major issues. I will offer to provide advice and any resources to help you to solve that problem in that session, and we will also discuss how to help you increase the sales performance of your team through sales training and consulting. The link will be below, feel free to send your details there if you are interested in this complementary consultation.
How to Sell in Complex Sales #3: Account for political influence
Now, the third point for dealing with complex buyers is to account for the personal and the political influencers. When selling to a company, something that’s in the best interest of the business may not be in the best interest of the individual. One of the greatest examples of this is machine breakdowns. Now, you would imagine that everybody would want the machines to be running as smoothly as possible. Certainly, the head of operations would be concerned about it, most people within the company would be concerned about that.
However, if you are speaking to the individual who is responsible for fixing those machines and they want the machines to break down, otherwise, they’ll be out of the job, then they’re going to do whatever they can to fight against you. This is a great example of accounting for personal influence when it comes to complex sales.
The other is the political agenda. Some people within the organization will hold more power than others. Some people may even have a negative influence. If Bob, for example, likes your product and wants to introduce it, but nobody likes Bob and nobody respects him, then you’re going to be wasting your efforts trying to sell to Bob when you really should be selling to someone who’s in a buying position. You have to be mindful of these things.
So there you have it, those are the three things that you need to account for in complex sales. Why don’t you write a comment below? What are the ways that you navigate complex selling situations? We’d love to hear your input. Feel free to click like and subscribe, and remember that integrity plus skills equals success.
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Sales Ethos helps companies increase revenue through sales training in Melbourne and Adelaide. We achieve results through sales coaching, customer service training, sales management training, and sales process consulting. Ben Lai is a sales trainer and business coach in Melbourne, and offers public sales training courses in Melbourne and Adelaide.