Is There A Silver Bullet in Sales?

This week’s blog is by Craig Elias, the creator of Trigger Event Selling™, and author of the upcoming book, SHiFT! Harness The Trigger Events That TURN PROSPECTS INTO CUSTOMERS. Listen to Craig share his secrets to getting to highly motivated decision makers at EXACTLY the right time and closing deals sooner when you do, December 1st at 12 Noon EST “Sell More Deals by Christmas” Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now.

We have been conditioned to believe that in sales there is no such thing as a silver bullet. I can tell you that there is. It is called timing — getting in front of the right person at EXACTLY the right time. Research shows that you are five times more likely to make a sale when you have the right timing.

Timing and Buying Modes
To have the right timing you need to understand that, no matter what you sell or to whom, buyers are always in one of three buying modes:

  1. Status Quo: Status quo is when a buyer believes the product or service they are currently using meets, or exceeds, their current needs.
  2. Window of Dissatisfaction™: A Window of Dissatisfaction occurs after a buyer realizes that their current solution no longer meets their needs but before they start the process of searching for alternative solutions.
  3. Searching for Alternatives: Searching for alternatives is when a buyer realizes their current solution no longer meets their needs and is actively searching for alternative solutions.

Buying Modes and Trigger Events
Buyers shift from the buying mode of Status Quo into the Window of Dissatisfaction, and from the Window of Dissatisfaction into searching for alternatives because they experience a Trigger Event, or a series of Trigger Events. You will sell more, sell sooner, and sell at a higher price when you can identify the Trigger Events that shift buyers into the Window of Dissatisfaction and get to these highly motivated buyers before your competition.

Trigger Events and Prices
It is important to understand the impact that Trigger Events have on prices. As a rule, buyers pay for perceived value – the perceived difference between your solution and their current solution – and a buyer’s perception of value changes as Trigger Events shift buyers from one buying mode to another.

When a buyer is in the Status Quo buying mode, their perceived value of their current solution is high. This results in the perceived difference in value between your solution and their current solution not being enough to motivate them to buy from you. When you try selling to buyers in the buying mode of Status Quo, you are likely to spend a lot of time selling with little or no chance of actually making a sale.

When buyers experience a Trigger Event they move into the Window of Dissatisfaction and their perceived value of their current solution is significantly reduced. Now the buyer’s perceived difference in value between your solution and their current solution increases to the point where you are much more likely to make a sale. By being first with buyers who recently entered the Window of Dissatisfaction, not only are you more likely to make a sale, you are also likely to have a shorter sales cycle, and when you win the business it’s likely to be at a much higher price.

When buyers are not intercepted by a savvy sales person, another Trigger Event or a series of Trigger Events will cause them to become so dissatisfied with their current solution that they pass through the Window of Dissatisfaction and start Searching for Alternatives. Now the perceived value of your solution is reduced to the difference between your solution and the next best solution proposed by a competitor. When you try selling to buyers who are searching for alternatives you are less likely to make the sale and IF you win the business, you are likely to have a much longer sales cycle and a much lower price.

The REAL Value of Leveraging Trigger Events
The REAL value of leveraging Trigger Events is you spend more time selling to buyers who are in the Window of Dissatisfaction. When you sell to buyers who are in the Window of Dissatisfaction you are most likely to get loyal, appreciative customers who will represent 80% of your profits and gladly provide you with a reference, or that most treasured thing in sales, referrals. If you miss the Window of Dissatisfaction and try selling to buyers who are already Searching for Alternatives, you are more likely to get those peripheral, disloyal, price sensitive customers who will be 80% of your headaches, represent only 20% of your profits, and are unlikely to be a reference or give you referrals.

Three Types of Trigger Events
Trigger Events that shift buyers from Status Quo into the Window of Dissatisfaction fall into one of three different categories:

  1. Bad Experience: The buyer has a bad experience with a product/service, people, or a provider, e.g. a product/service change creates dissatisfaction and the buyer gets ready to move on.
  2. Change / Transition: The buyer has a change or transition in people, places, or priorities, e.g. a change in the buyer who purchases your product or the person who sells your product to the buyer.
  3. Awareness: Buyers become aware of the need to change for one of three reasons: Legal, risk avoidance, economics, e.g. buying from you is less risky than continuing to buy from their current supplier.

How to Identify the Best Trigger Events for What You Sell
Every day, decision makers experience Trigger Events that shift them into the Window of Dissatisfaction and turn them into highly motivated buyers. In order to get to these highly motivated buyers before your competition you need to identify the specific Trigger Events for the products/services that you sell. One way to identify the Trigger Events for what you sell is to do a Won Sales Analysis.

Here is something I find very interesting, when you search Google for the term sales analysis – using quotes around the words “sales analysis” – you’ll find somewhere around one million pages on how to conduct a “sales analysis.” When you want to understand how you lost a sale and you search Google for the term “lost sales analysis,” you will find around 2,500 web pages. When you want to understand how you won a sale and you search Google for the term “won sales analysis” and filter out any references that link back to what I teach, you will find, on my last check, less than 10 pages. Of all the pages on the Internet that talk about sales analysis, less than 0.25% talk about how to win more business by analyzing the sales you lost and less than .001% talk about how to win more business by analyzing the sales that you have already won.

When you want to conduct a Won Sales Analysis to identify the Trigger Events that lead up to you winning new customers, and who are most likely to become your future customers, you’ll find the current version of my Won Sales Analysis template at www.wonsalesanalysis.com.

Conclusion
There is a silver bullet in sales, its called timing — being first with buyers who recently entered the Window of Dissatisfaction. You can create timing by identifying, finding, and capitalizing on the Trigger Events that shift buyers into the Window of Dissatisfaction and putting in place ways to repeatedly get to these recently motivated buyers before your competition. By being first with these highly motivated buyers you will sell more, sell sooner, and sell at a higher price.

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