Wednesday 16 October 2013

Selling ideas to the unresponsive buyer – challenging the status quo

A buyer who is ‘satisfied’ with your competitor’s brand, the status quo, is not in the market for change.

In other words, it is not possible to sell to a satisfied buyer.

Disturbing the status quo is crucial in making the buyer receptive to new ideas i.e. if the buyer is happy with the current situation, then there is no reason to change, and even less need to consider your proposition.  The first step means de-stabilising current levels of buyer complacency by appealing to their curiosity regarding how others are dealing more effectively with the same issue, or shocking them by exposing their personal vulnerability to changes in the market.

For instance, a buyer that buys at the same price and sells at prices equal to the competition yet nets 3% vs. the rival’s 5%, is obviously open to explanations…. Likewise, a highly geared retailer may not appreciate the danger of a 2% increase in cost of borrowing…

Successfully challenging the status quo means being able to capitalise on the key advantage of the NAM role – breadth of vision arising from experience of the category across the entire marketplace, an insight into all possible ways of making the category available to the consumer – combined with the indepth, but narrow view of the buyer operating within their own store environment.

This potential synergy can be leveraged when the buyer views the NAM as a pan-market expert, a source of insight as to how the other guys are doing. Nothing confidential, simply reassurance that tricks are not being missed…

However, successfully challenging the buyer’s perception of the status quo is not so much about opening the wound, but, having done so, being able to show a plausible link between your proposed solution and the ‘new’ problem.

Otherwise the buyer has simply been made available and receptive to your competitor’s next offer. 

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