Going with the flow?

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Do you ever get tired of your potential buyer always having the upper hand? Do you feel like “the game” is rigged in their favor and that their whim about whether to move forward fast, slow or at all is driving your emotions, results and paycheck?

Guess what, THE GAME IS RIGGED! The Information Age has put massive power in buyers' hands. They have more information and sales cycle control than any any time in history. We’ve all read about the studies that show that 55 - 75% of a buyer’s decision process has been completed before they connect with a salesperson. The problem with those studies is that they’re true. It’s a fact we all have to deal with.

So if you’re trying to put food on your family’s table what do you do?

The first step is to STOP SELLING!

(Whoa, did I just type that???? )

Yes I did!

For most buyers (and even salespeople) SELLING means trying to convince someone to do something they don’t necessarily want to do. It is often associated with a used car mentality steeped in lies, cover-ups and manipulations. (kinda like politics!)

To face the new reality and WIN I advocate a THREE STEP PROCESS that is actually pretty simple once you peel the layers and get the hang of it.

(I used to enjoy river kayaking so pardon the whitewater analogies that follow)

STEP 1) Learn the difference between PONDS, STREAMS, and RIVERS. In other words, learn to quickly separate the wheat for the chaff and work only with motivated buyers. There are a lot of tire kickers out there ...

(just because they got past that first research phase and are contacting you doesn’t mean they are a motivated buyer by the way!)

… but if they don’t know WHY (I mean REALLY know WHY) they are exploring you as a potential solution to a pressing problem or opportunity, you’re likely to find yourself in a smelly, swampy bog UPSIDE DOWN AND GOING NOWHERE.

Get out of those quickly and look for moving water!

STEP 2) Know the difference between a STREAM and a RIVER. If you’re going to paddle down a river there are different strokes for slow water and Class 5 rapids. Assess your buyer and match your activities to where they really are in the buying process. This means knowing the difference between clients who are in the CONSIDERATION phase and those who are in the DECISION stage. They are different buyers with different concerns (even though they often act very similar). You have to really pay attention and ask really good questions to determine who you’re dealing with.

Different strokes for different folks.

STEP 3) Paddle with AUTHORITY. So you’re in moving water and you know what kind of water it is; and you want to go faster and reach the end with more certainty. Here is where the art of becoming one with the river, while guiding your boat (your deal) with certainty over and around the rapids while finding the smoothest water at every bend, comes in. Every accomplished kayaker knows that key is to not be afraid or timid and to always make aggressive strokes. One must find a way to be EQUAL YET RESPECTFUL of the river and the dangers in losing control, while PADDLING WITH PURPOSE.

In sales this means meeting your buyer on a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD and GUIDING THE PROCESS with SPECIFIC INTENT at every step along the journey downstream.

Paddle with purpose!!!

It’s half science and half art, requiring both sides of the brain, which is what makes it so fun and rewarding. Running a river is the same. It should be on-the-edge and almost effortless at the same time.

As selling becomes more challenging with every passing day I remind myself of what my buddy Ron and I would do when we came upon a rough patch of whitewater. We would pull off to the side. Get out of the boat and survey the river below. Plan our approach, get back in and then PADDLE HARD!

Every seller needs to do this from time to time. STOP AND ASSESS.

Are you in too many swamps?

Are you paddling too fast when you’re in a stream, and not fast enough when you’re in a river?

Are you asserting yourself confidently IN THE FLOW, or are you fighting or worse, succumbing to the river’s power?

Make these changes and I ASSURE YOU your results will change.

- Steve