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How to Understand the Buyer’s Context

How to Understand the Buyer’s Context

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Understanding the buyer’s contexts is how you can best help your prospects, whether they need your help and whether they want it. It’s how you can open your prospects eyes to a better world -- when they’ll start to believe that you can help them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals --- all within the right timeline and budget.

This presentation is one class in HubSpot Academy's free sales training course. You can enroll in the course here: http://hubs.ly/H04gdC00

Understanding the buyer’s contexts is how you can best help your prospects, whether they need your help and whether they want it. It’s how you can open your prospects eyes to a better world -- when they’ll start to believe that you can help them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals --- all within the right timeline and budget.

This presentation is one class in HubSpot Academy's free sales training course. You can enroll in the course here: http://hubs.ly/H04gdC00

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How to Understand the Buyer’s Context

  1. 1. Explore: Understanding the Buyer’s Context Instructor: Pete Caputa Inbound Sales Certification Brought to you by HubSpot Academy CLASS 04
  2. 2. 1WHAT IS THE EXPLORATORY PHASE?
  3. 3. THE EXPLORATORY PHASE The part where you truly learn how you can best help your prospects. It’s how you can open your prospects eyes to a better world.
  4. 4. 1.  The right approach 2.  The right outcome 3.  The right thing for the prospect THE EXPLORATORY PROCESS
  5. 5. 1.  The right approach 2.  The right outcome 3.  The right thing for the prospect THE EXPLORATORY PROCESS
  6. 6. EXPLORE Transition into exploratory mode instead of pitch mode when a buyer expresses interest INBOUND vs. Transition right into presentation mode as soon as a buyer expresses an amount of interest or need LEGACY
  7. 7. These un-customized pitches make legacy salespeople more interested in making a sale than finding out if they can solve the prospect’s problems.
  8. 8. EXPLORE Transition into exploratory mode instead of pitch mode when a buyer expresses interest INBOUND vs. Transition right into presentation mode as soon as a buyer expresses an amount of interest or need LEGACY
  9. 9. 1.  The right approach 2.  The right outcome 3.  The right thing for the prospect THE EXPLORATORY PROCESS
  10. 10. Inbound salespeople can assess whether they can help the buyer much more efficiently and more thoroughly than a buyer can themselves.
  11. 11. Inbound salespeople know their company’s best practices and case studies inside and out. They know how their company has helped many companies similar to the ones they’re calling.
  12. 12. 1.  The right approach 2.  The right outcome 3.  The right thing for the prospect THE EXPLORATORY PROCESS
  13. 13. In the age of the empowered buyer, inbound salespeople know that it’s critical to be honest with prospects about the suitability of their product or service.
  14. 14. EXPLORE Figure out why a prospect should and shouldn't buy from them and they are very willing to walk away if they can't INBOUND vs. Always eager to move a prospect to the next stage of their sale process - regardless of whether there’s a fit LEGACY
  15. 15. EXPLORE INBOUND vs. LEGACY Always eager to move a prospect to the next stage of their sale process - regardless of whether there’s a fit Figure out why a prospect should and shouldn't buy from them and they are very willing to walk away if they can't
  16. 16. 1.  Determining a fit and getting buy-in for next steps 2.  Determining it will never be a fit 3.  Determining it’s not a fit right now ON ANY EXPLORATORY CALL, THE FOLLOWING MIGHT HAPPEN:
  17. 17. Want to learn from a Harvard Business School professor? Register(for(a(Free(Sales(Training(Course(
  18. 18. 2HOW TO EXECUTE THE EXPLORE STAGE
  19. 19. EXPLORATORY You’re in control, but your prospect GUIDE feels like they are being empowered to make the right decisions.
  20. 20. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  21. 21. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  22. 22. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  23. 23. “Based on the challenges you’re facing and your interest in the insights I just shared, would you like to setup a call to explore how I might be able to help you?” “Yes.” YOU PROSPECT “Ok. I’ll be prepared to discuss how we’ve helped other companies with similar challenges. I’ll provide some ideas that you might be able to implement immediately. If it makes sense, we can talk deeper about your goals, current plans and anything else that we might be able to help with. Does that sound like a good agenda?”
  24. 24. “The other day, when we spoke, you shared a few challenges that you’re frustrated with. You mentioned that it was preventing you from achieving some important company goals. Can you expand a bit more on what you’re dealing with?” YOU
  25. 25. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  26. 26. In order to set an agenda, recapwhat they shared with you.
  27. 27. “We can definitely cover that today. Before we get too far into that topic, though, I suggest we set an agenda. I know we booked [XX] minutes today. Does that still work?” “Yes.” YOU PROSPECT “Typically, a good goal for this call is to really figure out how I can best help you. I’ve worked with [XX] of companies like yours who were struggling with the challenge you’ve acknowledged. I can certainly share some advice based on my previous work with them. But, I find that everyone is a bit different. So, it usually makes sense for me to understand much more context about your goals, other challenges you’ve faced or anticipate facing, any relevant plans you have in place, as well as timelines and other constraints you might have. Are you comfortable having that conversation today?”
  28. 28. “Great. I suggest we treat this conversation like a two- way dialog. I have a bunch of questions for you. I’m sure you’ll have some questions that I will certainly answer for you. Then, at the end of the call we can decide whether it makes sense for us to continue discussing how we can more formally help you? Does that sound like a good plan to you?” “Yes. That sounds refreshing, actually, compared to most salespeople who just want to talk at me about how awesome they are.” YOU PROSPECT “Great. Can you start by sharing your goals for taking this call?” “Yes.”
  29. 29. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  30. 30. People generally don’t make changes unless they have a challenge that impedes their progress.
  31. 31. It helps to make a list of all of the challenges you solve most frequently. For each of the personas, industries, or roles you sell to, so you can prompt your prospects.
  32. 32. Company: Tyre Recruiting firm Persona: VP of Sales at a technology company Challenges: •  Low quality of sales job candidates •  Bandwidth to recruit at the pace the company needed to hit their revenue goals EXAMPLE
  33. 33. “Many times, when I’m speaking with a VP Recruiting like yourself in the tech industry, they have one of a handful of challenges. It’s often x, but a lot of times it’s y or z too. Do you ever struggle with any of these things?” YOU
  34. 34. “When I hear someone say they have x issue, that often means they are frustrated with y challenge. How about you?” YOU
  35. 35. 1.  Truly listen to the prospect 2.  Feed back the content and the feeling of the prospect’s words 3.  Confirm you heard the prospect correctly 4.  Ask a relevant follow-up question to further clarify your understanding of their situation ACTIVE LISTENING PROCESS
  36. 36. Learn the sales strategy HubSpot used to Grow the Business from $0 - $140M. Register(for(a(Free(Sales(Training(Course(
  37. 37. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  38. 38. “You’ve shared with me that x, y and z challenges are most important. What goals are they preventing you from achieving?” YOU “I was speaking with a tech company like yours the other day and they mentioned that their goal was to achieve x. Do you have a goal that’s similar to that?” “If you fast forward 1 year from now and look back, what 1 or 2 goals will you have hoped you’ve accomplished?” “I’m wondering how much you think challenge z is preventing you from achieving goal z?”
  39. 39. •  Make more money •  Save money •  Avoid risk B2B PRODUCTS AND SERVICES HELP A COMPANY DO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
  40. 40. “How many salespeople do you need and how many do you think you can hire if you do nothing differently?” YOU “If you lower the bar and hire more B or C players, how much underperformance would you expect?”
  41. 41. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  42. 42. “How have you tried to overcome challenge x? Why didn’t it work? How do you plan to overcome challenge x?” YOU “Sounds like you have some doubt . Would you be open to new ways of solving your challenges?” “Are you 100% confident that implementing this plan will help you achieve your goals?”
  43. 43. “Would you be open to hearing another way to approach solving challenge X?” YOU “Would it help if I showed you how other companies implemented C in order to eliminate challenge Y?” “Have you thought about trying to do B in order to achieve goal Z?” “Most companies who struggle with challenge D, find that solution X eliminates XX% of the problem. Do you think that would be an improvement for you?”
  44. 44. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  45. 45. “When do you need to achieve this goal?” YOU “How long are you prepared to deal with this challenge?”
  46. 46. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  47. 47. Some sellers confuse challenges with consequences. They are different things. FLICKR USER WAYNE S. GRAZIO
  48. 48. “If you don’t achieve this goal, what happens to the company? What happens to you? What happens to others (your boss, coworkers, or others)?” YOU “How important is overcoming this challenge to your company?”
  49. 49. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  50. 50. If you can get your prospect thinking about what they will do next when they achieve their goal, overcome a challenge, and/or avoid a consequence, they’ll start to visualize what success looks like.
  51. 51. “When you achieve goal X, what will you do next?” YOU “When you no longer have to worry about consequence Y, how will you feel?” “Who stands to gain the most when this plan works?”
  52. 52. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  53. 53. The right time to ask about decision-making processes is later on after you understand goals, challenges, plans, timelines, consequences and implications.
  54. 54. “Are you convinced that we can help you better than anyone else?” YOU “How have decisions been made like this in the past? Who needs to be involved in this decision?” “Usually, when my clients are making this decision, the following people need to be involved: CFO, VP Sales and the VP Sales Operations. Who covers those responsibilities for your firm?” “Do you usually discuss decisions like this with anyone in your family or other trusted advisors?”
  55. 55. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  56. 56. You should look at budget from their perspective, not yours. Consider any costs involved to execute their plan, not just the cost of your solution.
  57. 57. Goal conversation: you should have determined how much money they stand to gain or save. Plan conversation: you can determine the cost of the alternative plans.
  58. 58. “Based on our conversation, it seems like you are spending X dollars on a solution that’s not helping you get where you want to go. What did you plan to invest so that you’re 100% confident that you’ll achieve your goals?” YOU
  59. 59. Inbound salespeople focus on guiding and advising prospects who value their differentiation.
  60. 60. •  Challenges •  Goals •  Plans •  Timeline •  Consequences •  Implications •  Budget •  Authority FRAMEWORK FOR AN EXPLORATORY CONVERSATION CGP T CI BA
  61. 61. •  Understanding: It ensures you don’t miss details that are important in understanding your buyer’s context. •  Effective Communication: It helps you to have a structure for communicating your prospect’s story back to them, helping them know that you heard them. •  Advising: The framework helps you position your products and services as a solution to your buyer’s challenges. HAVING A FRAMEWORK HELPS YOU ACCOMPLISH:
  62. 62. •  Understanding: It ensures you don’t miss details that are important in understanding your buyer’s context. •  Effective Communication: It helps you to have a structure for communicating your prospect’s story back to them, helping them know that you heard them. •  Advising: The framework helps you position your products and services as a solution to your buyer’s challenges. HAVING A FRAMEWORK HELPS YOU ACCOMPLISH:
  63. 63. When discussed in the correct order, CGPT, CI and then BA, a salesperson can understand someone’s entire context.
  64. 64. •  Understanding: It ensures you don’t miss details that are important in understanding your buyer’s context. •  Effective Communication: It helps you to have a structure for communicating your prospect’s story back to them, helping them know that you heard them. •  Advising: The framework helps you position your products and services as a solution to your buyer’s challenges. HAVING A FRAMEWORK HELPS YOU ACCOMPLISH:
  65. 65. •  Challenges •  Goals •  Plans •  Timeline ASK YOUR PROSPECT TO REFLECT ON THEIR:
  66. 66. “Before we wrap up, would it be ok if I share my understanding of our conversation today?” “Yes, that’d be great.” YOU PROSPECT
  67. 67. “That was an excellent recap. I appreciate how effectively you listened during this call and how you really helped me brainstorm solutions. I’m really excited for next steps." YOU PROSPECT “As I understand it, your goals are X, Y and Z. Challenge A and B currently stand in the way of achieving these goals. Your current plan is to implement A and B. But, you’re worried about challenge C cropping up as you start to implement plan A. Additionally, you’ve already tried A and it didn’t work. So, you’re worried that A and B just won’t get you to your goal. Today, we discussed a few alternative plans that might be able to help you get to overcome all of your challenges and achieve these goals. Based on our discussion today, you seem confident that this new plan will get you where you need to go, help you avoid consequence C and do it all within a timeline and budget that that will be acceptable to the whole team. Did I miss anything important?”
  68. 68. Another way to recap the conversation is to send an email using the CGPT framework. It should say the exact same thing you said verbally.
  69. 69. •  Understanding: It ensures you don’t miss details that are important in understanding your buyer’s context. •  Effective Communication: It helps you to have a structure for communicating your prospect’s story back to them, helping them know that you heard them. •  Advising: The framework helps you position your products and services as a solution to your buyer’s challenges. HAVING A FRAMEWORK HELPS YOU ACCOMPLISH:
  70. 70. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  71. 71. “What were your take-aways from this call?” “You’ve definitely opened my eyes to better ways of accomplishing our goals. I’m anxious to implement what we’ve discussed.” YOU PROSPECT “Was this call helpful for you? [pause] Why?” “When can we get started?” “What do you think we should do next?”
  72. 72. Whatever the next steps, now is the time to get commitment from them.
  73. 73. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Focus on their challenges 5.  Connect challenges to goals 6.  Understand the prospect’s plans 7.  Understand timeline and urgency 8.  Discuss negative consequences 9.  Discuss positive implications 10.  Cover authority 11.  Confirm budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  74. 74. 1.  Build rapport 2.  Recap what you learned and shared from previous conversations 3.  Set an agenda for the call 4.  Challenges 5.  Goals 6.  Plans 7.  Timeline 8.  Consequences 9.  Implications 10.  Authority 11.  Budget 12.  Getting buy-in and commitment STEPS FOR AN EXPLORATORY CALL
  75. 75. THANK YOU. Register(for(the(full,(free(sales(training(here.((

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