Influencing Purchase Decisions, Pt. Two

BY Jessica Helinski
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Influencing buyers’ purchase decisions requires understanding what drives those decisions, and then acting accordingly. Not sure where to begin? RAIN Group conducted a study to learn how buyers are making their decisions. As Erica Schultz writes in a recent article, “If you want to succeed in sales today, attend to the factors that most influence your buyers’ purchase decisions.” While this has always been necessary, virtual selling is now the norm, adding an entirely new dimension to selling. Continuing on from Monday’s post, here are a couple of the survey highlights, as well as Schultz’s tips for adapting.

Influencing requires action

Reveal ROI. Talking about value is one thing. Actually showing it can make all the difference when it comes to influencing buyers. Schultz reports that “two-​thirds of buyers are highly influenced by sellers who make the return on investment (ROI) case clear.” Yet, despite its importance, ROI isn’t a top task for reps. In fact, only 16% of sellers make a clear ROI case for their prospects. Reps must tackle this issue when influencing buyers in their favor. To showcase ROI, Schultz recommends a few things:

  • Determine the business impact of your solution using numbers to quantify as much as possible. The more you can show, the more value the prospect can see (and justify spending money on).
  • Don’t forget to describe the emotional impact your product or service can have. Storytelling can help connect with the heart and the head.
  • Point out alternate possibilities (not buying, going with a competitor) and contrast those possible outcomes with your product or service. 

Connect with the heart, too

Develop a connection. Influencing your prospects requires more than just numbers. Create rapport, build a foundation of trust, and basically, win them over by being likable. “Relationships matter in sales, but the majority of sellers (88%) report that developing relationships virtually is challenging,” Schultz explains. “At the same time, 54% of buyers report they’re influenced by the connection and relationship they have with sellers.” Now, more than ever, make the effort to really get to know buyers and show them that you care. Even if you’re separated by a screen, make sure you keep that human element in your sales process; you’ll stand out and boost your influencing power. Plus, as Schultz writes, “At the end of the day, all things being equal, buyers choose sellers they like.”

Engage them. Virtual selling has been a big learning experience for many sellers. Whether or not they continue to do so post-​pandemic, for now, remote selling is still commonplace for many. RAIN Group found that getting prospects’ attention and keeping them engaged virtually highly influences 50% of buyers’ purchase decisions. She recommends planning structural engagement for each meeting and call. Screen sharing, polls, chats, and other little touches can go a long way getting buyers’ interest and encouraging them to engage.