Do you consider the impact of physics on your sales efforts?
You should evaluate your prospects’ buying processes in terms of Heisenberg’s famous principle of uncertainty. Werner Heisenberg, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1932, is most well known for his Uncertainty Principle in which he demonstrated that the act of observing or measuring a process will necessarily change its outcome.
While Heisenberg arrived at his famous formulation through his work with the behavior of sub-atomic particles, I have always found that a variation of the Uncertainty Principle applies to sales as well.
The Uncertainty Principle of Selling states: The process of selling to your prospect invariably changes their requirements and decision criteria moving forward. The very process of discovery, of helping the prospect define their requirements, and providing the data and information in response to their questions, forces them to re-assess their needs and the criteria that they will use in evaluating sellers and making an informed purchase decision.
In other words, the act of selling to a prospect changes them. And, if you don’t react in response to those changes your chances of winning their business will decrease.
Why “Uncertainty” is important to you
What happens when your prospect learns that your SaaS product provides a feature, and associated value, that they hadn’t anticipated when they first put together their requirements? Or, what happens when your prospect’s expectations for the new machine tool they are looking to acquire aren’t fully met by any of the products that they have evaluated? The trajectory of their buying process will necessarily change.
This should force immediate sales strategy adjustments on your part. Unfortunately, too many sales people fall into the trap of thinking about their sales process, and their prospects’ buying process, as merely rote processes to be blindly followed like the instructions on a shampoo bottle: just lather, rinse and repeat.
Buying processes don’t follow a straight line from Point A to B
Your prospect’s buying process isn’t a linear, inflexible string of events. It changes in response to how you sell to them. Every time you interact with a prospect, and they learn something new about your product or service and what it can do for them, they evaluate their requirements in a different light. Which means that you have to be flexible and extremely responsive in your selling to help them move forward.
In fact, the Uncertainty Principle of Selling reinforces the necessity of being completely and rapidly responsive to your prospects as they gather the information they need to evaluate in order to make a fast, favorable decision. Recent studies have shown that the seller that shapes a prospect’s “buyer’s vision,” the mental image of the value they’ll derive from the product or service they are evaluating, dramatically increases their odds of winning the business.
It’s rarely a straight line from an initial sales call to the buyer’s vision and, finally, to a purchase decision. But, it can be made shorter if you pay close attention to the often subtle changes your prospects are making in their objectives as they move through their buying process.
The key is to use the Uncertainty Principle to your advantage. Plan and implement your account strategy. But be alert and alive to the possibility of change and the opportunities that accompany it.