When you really boil it down, your success as a sales organization comes down to how effective you are at acquiring new customers and expanding with existing ones. But, you’re mistaken if you think you can apply the same messaging and selling competencies to one effort as you would to the other. Research proves that customer acquisition and customer expansion are shaped by significantly different buying pressures. As such, the buyer psychology of new customers is nearly the opposite of the buyer psychology of existing ones.
To be great at convincing customers to buy (and buy again and again), there are four distinct moments you need to master in the customer deciding journey—which is really about engaging prospects and customers effectively in the series of key decisions they need to make to succeed. The messaging and skills training required for these moments varies based on whether you’re trying to defeat the status quo (acquire new customers) or reinforce the status quo (keep existing ones).
When you’re on the outside and trying to acquire new customers, you need to be able to:
- Create Value – Disrupt status quo bias and differentiate your solutions
- Elevate Value – Build a more effective business case that justifies executive decisions
- Capture Value – Maximize the profitability of each deal
When you’re the incumbent, you need to be able to:
- Expand Value – Renew and expand existing customer revenue
Let’s start when you’re the outsider and you need to overcome status quo bias—convincing prospects not just to make a change, but to do it with you, not your competitors.
Sales is more about change management than it is about selling. That’s because 60% of qualified opportunities end in “no decision.” As the outsider, you are fighting inertia—or status quo bias. To vanquish this force, you need to disrupt its causes, drive the need for change, and create a buying vision that favors you over your competition. That requires articulating compelling answers for two pivotal questions your prospects are asking: Why Change (why should I do something different?) and Why You (why should I do it with you?).
What about when you need to justify the value of your solution or service to busy executive decision makers? Why should they learn more about your solution (Why Invest), and why should they buy into your story and business case—and purchase now (Why Now).
As deals advance, it becomes harder to handle pricing pressures and avoid unnecessary discounting. Salespeople need the training to deal with that pressure and close deals profitably. In complex selling scenarios, they also need to learn techniques for guiding conversations through multi-party decision processes and avoiding any “last mile” challenges to reaching agreement.
The skills highlighted above address the sales inflection points when you need to defeat the status quo and acquire new customers. But what about when you are the status quo? That involves a drastically different buyer psychology and a dedicated message development and skills training approach—research proves it. When you need to retain customers (Why Stay) and expand with them (Why Evolve), you need a tailored strategy that meets to the demands of these moments. (Stay tuned for the soon-to-drop Expand Value Skills video, which takes a closer look at how to respond to the pressures of the critical customer retention/expansions scenarios).
One-size-fits-all approaches to your messaging and skills training won’t hold up across the range of decisions you need to influence. Today, great selling requires breaking free from universal approaches to the customer conversation and getting your customer acquisition and expansion strategies on the right side of the research.
Learn more here about what it takes to get there.