P5M2 The Buying Cycle

If you play a word association game with the word…

“salesman” (or saleswoman)

what do you come up with?

[Go on… have a go]

Well done if you thought


income provider

revenue generator

profit creator

and other positive phrases.

In my experience it’s more likely you thought







won’t take no for an answer

The Difference

Two things make the difference:

One – you or someone else

  • when you thought of salesman you thought of yourself and your own vital role in making sure your business grow; or if
  • you thought of someone trying to sell you something you didn’t want – or you remembered a past experience.

Two – how you see the selling process, positively or negatively.

Helping People To Buy

I like to think of selling as helping people to buy something they want and need to solve a problem that’s irritating them… or even driving them crazy!

If you take the stance of helping someone to buy, you need to look at the entire process from the other side.

Amazingly most sales training programs I’ve seen don’t bring the buyer into the equation.

Selling is a process you do to the buyer.

For me selling and buying are two sides of the same process you do with the buyer.

If you still feel negative about helping a potential customer to buy, go back to the Strategy of Preeminence.

Background to Buying

  • Buyers are selfish
    • WIIFM?
    • Will this benefit me?
    • How can I get the best deal?
  • They don’t care about working down your sales process – it is there to help you, not your customer
  • Decisions are made by people – and we favour people who we know, like and trust

The Buying Process

I’ve identified a 13 step process for buying which starts with the recognition of the problem or seeing an opportunity and moves through to a happy and satisfied customer deciding to recommend the business to others.

Read: The Buying Process

Understand Where The Customer Is

How you treat the prospective customer depends on where they are in their buying cycle.

  • Remember Chet Holmes
  • 3% are buying
  • 7% are thinking about buying
  • More are open to the idea
  • Meet the buyer where he or she is
  • Are you going to help the customer buy or are you going to put obstacles in their way?

Investigating The Buying Cycle

  • Where are they?
    Who are the key players and what are the roles?
    Who has to say Yes
    Who can say No
    What timescale are they working to?
    What are they doing to buy?
    What are the purchase criteria?

Mitch Axelrod & The Buying Cycle

  • New Game Of Selling
  • Phase 1 – satisfied – educate
  • Phase 2 – dissatisfied & getting ready – build trusting relationship, motivate
  • Phase 3 – ready to buy – propose your solution
  • Don’t waste time trying to move people in Phase 1  and if you try to close in Phase 2, you will receive waves of objections

Why Don’t You Buy?

  • Two factors
  • Things that help us to buy
  • Things that stop us buying
  • Do more of the first and stop doing the second
  • Exercise
  • Think of 3 to 5 recent buying occasions when you didn’t buy even though you wanted to
  • Identify what stopped you

Why Leads Are Not Converted

  • Product not in stock
  • Price did not match expectations (too high or low)
  • Didn’t like salesperson
  • Rude, bad attitude, no enthusiasm
  • Poor product knowledge
  • Didn’t trust – fake rapport
  • It was just too difficult, complicated or confusing
  • Inconvenient
  • Too many options
  • Didn’t close or set-up the next stage

The buyer is not stupid! Everything a person does seems like a good idea at the time.

If a qualified customer didn’t buy, accept responsibility
Find out what went wrong and fix it for the future

Why Customers Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do…

  • Book by Ferdinand F. Fournies
  • Selling is the management of buying
  • One sales-call products vs multiple
  • What action should the customer take at each stage so you know you are winning?
  • What do you need to do to get the customer to take that action?
  • How can you measure your success?
  • Small steps – creeping commitment

Why Prospective Customers Don’t Buy

You can’t make anybody do anything they don’t want to do unless you have some kind of powerful hold over them.

If your prospective customers are not buying, one or more of the factors on this list of reasons may be why.

Read: Why Customers Don’t Buy

What You Can Do

  • Pay attention to where the customer is in their buying cycle
  • Have a selling process so you can meet & lead the buyer – many want to be honestly guided
  • Work on the relationship – build up your “know, like and trust” rating
  • Do what you say you will
  • Be interested
  • Show you care

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