My dentist just walked me through the buyer’s journey. Boy, did it hurt. But it was worth it. I learned a crucial lesson about how to sell costly, disruptive solutions.
Without going into the painful details, I’ll just say this: the buyer’s journey is all about three stages of agreement. I was not willing to do anything about that stupid tooth until my kind-and-gentle dentist could get me to agree on three things: (1) it hurts; (2) it has a name, and (3) inaction is not an option.
This is what I learned at each stage:
1. Your prospect wants to ignore the pain. In the early stage of the buyer’s journey, your job is to keep raising issues that point to the pain. “See how much this problem is costing you? Can you feel the productivity leaking? Should your sales cycle really be this long?” Be the dentist. Keep poking and prodding until your prospect says, “Yes, this hurts.” No pain means no urgency.
2. It isn’t real until it has a name. Next, you want to take your buyer from a general awareness that something is wrong … to a specific problem with an actual name. You are not trying to close the deal here. This is all about educating the patient. “Here’s the cause of your pain. Here’s why it’s a common problem. Here’s the latest thinking on your situation. Here’s how others have successfully overcome it.”
At PitchMaps, for example, we talk to our prospects a lot about “core messaging.” For many, it’s not a term they normally use or even think about. So, when we start hearing our prospects refer to their “core messaging problem”, we’ve know we’ve reached agreement.
3. Inaction is not an option. This is the biggie. Your prospect must agree that action is costly, but inaction is costlier. If you’re too quick to offer your solution (the root canal), you end up presenting your product or service and then struggling to get your prospect to do something about it. Wait until the prospect has already made the decision to buy (“I have to do something about this tooth; inaction is not an option”), and the rest is easy. Your prospect understands the issues. You’ve built trust. He’s ready to buy. Now you can present your solution.
That’s how you sell root canals. And it wasn’t so bad, was it?
Senour Reed says
Brilliant John and Team PitchMaps.
Thanks for the great work at Jabian and ATP. If you have any core messaging pain call the PM Doctors and sleep easy! All the best Senour
John Reed says