Purchase Decisions: Buyers Reveal Influencers, Pt. One

BY Jessica Helinski
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Purchase decisions can be influenced by many factors, and reps need to understand how their words and actions can have an impact. This has always been true, but now, following a year like 2020, reps must be hyper-​aware of any opportunities to sway decisions. 

Recently, RAIN Group’s Erica Schultz shared nine ways to influence buyers’ purchase decisions virtually. Each tip is based on findings from a RAIN survey of buyers. 

Two are highlighted here: 

  1. Uncover full needs
  2. Show buyers what you can make possible

Purchase decision influencers

Uncover full needs. Schultz reports that 71% of buyers say “a thorough discovery of their concerns, wants, and needs is highly influential in their purchase decisions.” 

So, for nearly three-​fourths of prospects, reps can boost their chances of a deal simply by taking time to fully understand prospects. 

A past Media Sales Today article backs up this finding. Deb Calvert stressed the importance of quality time devoted to discovery. “True discovery can provide an awesome connecting experience between the buyer and seller: An experience that is relevant and meaningful to the buyer, one that makes the seller stand out with positive differentiation,” she wrote. To help reps influence purchase decisions, Schultz shares some ways they can effectively conduct a needs analysis:

  • Focus questions on both pain points and aspirations. Sellers need to understand not only what is challenging their prospects, but also the prospects' goals. A vision of what could be can influence purchase decisions.
  • One of the most important questions a buyer can ask is often ignored. The question? A simple, “why?" This one word can get to the root of an issue. It guides the prospect to a deeper examination of their situation that they may not have considered. 
  • Prepare ahead of time. Research must be done prior to any needs analysis. 
  • Use a checklist. “For most sellers there’s a common set of needs you solve,” she explains. “Your checklist can be a prompt to help you thoroughly explore and uncover buyer needs.” Pinpointing each can tackle each purchase decision influencer. 

Looking for some common and helpful questions to add to your checklist? Check out this past Media Sales Today article for specific questions to ask.

Show, don't just tell

Show buyers what you can make possible. RAIN Group found that, for 68% of buyers, sellers who show them what’s possible or how to solve a problem highly influences purchase decisions. And, the survey found that, for 89% of sellers, this important skill is actually a challenge. One way that reps can show rather than tell is by implementing stories into their sales strategies. Storytelling is a highly effective way to engage and inspire buyers, especially when sellers make the buyer the hero of the story. This tactic involves casting the prospect as your story’s hero. Show the seller how they can use your product or service to solve their issues and meet their goals. This makes them, rather than you and your business, the focus. 

Check back for more 

These are only two factors that drive purchase decisions. Wednesday’s post will continue this topic, again highlighting the findings from RAIN Group’s research. These data-​driven insights can help reps better understand buying influences and adapt their strategy to address them.