Closing the deal can be challenging—but it doesn’t have to be. In most cases, sellers lose deals because they don’t make the right connection with the buyer, leading to buyer apathy, indecision and stalled progress. Often, this happens because sellers have simply taken the wrong approach: one that doesn’t speak to their particular buyer. Admittedly, it can be difficult to hone in what the right approach should be. On average, an organization’s purchasing decisions involve 6.4 stakeholders over a period of five months or more.
That’s why it’s important to understand how each key decision-maker thinks and acts before you start the sales conversation. Fortunately, we’ve done extensive research into how buyers make decisions, which we’ve classified into five personas that you can use to inform your selling strategy and overcome buyer apathy.
The Five Buyer Personas You’ll Encounter
Charismatics are risk-seeking, factual and responsible. Drawn to anything that makes their company more competitive or cutting edge, Charismatics are most likely to welcome seller engagement at the start of the buying process. They also tend to be chatty, asking lots of questions until they fully understand the big picture.
Tips for selling to Charismatics: Focus on making high-level points and succinctly delivering supporting information. Bullet points with key facts that back up your claims are your friend; visuals, such as graphs and charts, also appeal to Charismatics.
Intelligent, academic and compassionate: these three adjectives capture the Thinker’s essence. Because Thinkers are process-oriented, they appreciate a seller walking them through the process from its inception to its end, in chronological order, addressing both benefits and risks along the way. As they listen, they will ask thoughtful questions, balancing logic and emotion in their decision-making.
Tips for selling to Thinkers: Supply Thinkers with all pertinent information on both products and processes. Engage them by asking for their input and ideas and be prepared to answer their questions.
Skeptics tend to be disruptive, wary and antisocial. Skeptics are less likely than other personas to seek help with their decision-making process, largely because they think they already know everything you’re going to tell them.
Tips for selling to Skeptics: You must establish credibility early on when dealing with a Skeptic. Make sure you follow through on what you say you’ll do, cite primary data sources and have answers ready for their questions.
Followers are brand-driven and risk-averse; for these reasons, they aren’t early adopters or trailblazers. They’re likely to do things the way they’ve always done them and want to be sure they’re making the right choice before they change tactics.
Tips for selling to Followers: To build their comfort and confidence, give Followers proof for all of your assertions. Use real-world case studies to illustrate your points, and never make any assertions that you can’t back up with hard data.
Controllers are detail-oriented, analytical and unemotional, which can make them the toughest group to convince. They prefer a linear, logical approach to a polished presentation. They also appreciate facts—the more detailed, the better—presented by an expert.
Tips for selling to Controllers: Traditional persuasive techniques don’t work on Controllers. Instead, gain their buy-in by sowing the seed of an idea, and then let them take ownership of it so that they reach the correct conclusion themselves.
Using the Five Personas to Defeat Buyer Apathy
In today’s information economy, business purchasers now do their own research, engaging a seller only after they believe they’ve identified their desired solution. As a result, buyers increasingly perceive sellers as being less valuable—a perception that is disrupting commercial sales and requiring sellers to evolve their approach.
Successful B2B sales in the information age, where buyers are often apathetic to a seller’s value, therefore require a redefinition of the business buyer-seller relationship. By studying the unique characteristics that feed each persona’s preferred sales approach, you can speak the language of your specific buyer and overcome buyer apathy.
Contact us and see how Miller Heiman Group can help.