Customer Journey: Decision Phase

It would be amazing if customers just called you and immediately wanted to buy your product or service. Unfortunately, that isn’t how things work. Before someone is willing to buy, they go through a customer journey. As the customer progresses through this journey, they have different needs and are asking different questions. Wise marketers target customers at the stage they are in. Generally, there are three stages a customer moves through: problem awareness, solution research, and decision evaluation.

Today, we are going to focus on the decision stage.

The Presentation

At this point, you have already completed the initial Disco Call and have done the Needs Analysis. Based on your finding from these calls, you need to create a proposal. For our company, we have a proposal template in Google slides that we customize based on our knowledge of the customer. Ideally, this presentation meeting was scheduled at the end of your needs analysis. Usually, we recommend 3-7 days between the needs analysis and the presentation. The key is that the major decision-maker(s) need to be in the presentation meeting. The key aspects of the presentation need to be the following elements:

  1. Review of the previous meetings and the knowledge you have of the customer’s situation. Ask clarifying questions to verify you are still on the same page.
  2. Share your screen to verbally present your proposal. The final page of the proposal should be a clear offer.
  3. Discussion of solution. This is the time for you to work through the customer’s objections.

Overcoming Objections

Now that you have finished your presentation, you ask a question we call a “trial close”:

“Based on what we’ve discussed, do you think [OFFER NAME] is a fit for what you need & will help you achieve your [DESIRE]?”

Now, SHUT UP and let them answer. They will come up with objections at this point to your service. First, ask clarifying questions to make sure that you understand what they are asking. Then, as much as possible ask a question for them to answer their own objection.

Here are some example categories for service-based offering objections.

Value. “I’m not sure we have the budget for this right now.”

The customer can talk themselves out of a solution because of price. When this happens, you have not shown the customer significant value in your solution or displayed a convincing return on investment. One question you can ask is: “Help me understand our assumptions. In our needs analysis, we were able to establish your problem costs [x] which means working with us will provide a return in [x time frame]. Do you have a specific concern or doubt that is leading you to believe our solution won’t solve your problem?”

Solution. “I don’t think your solution will meet our needs”.

Your response could be, “That is interesting, what specific need are you concerned about us not being able to solve?”.

Capabilities. “It seems like you are really small. How big is your team?”.

Your response question could be something like, “I really like your questions. Let me ask you, what makes you curious about our size?” Based on their response, you can ask a follow-up question like “Does a larger team better guarantee a positive outcome? Why would you say that?”.

Price. “Your price is too high”.

Price should be the last consideration. You first need to make sure the customer is satisfied with your understanding of their problem and that they are reasonably convinced that your solution can solve their problem and your approach is unique compared to alternatives. So, my first question is always something like, “I can see price is important to you and I want to address this concern, but first can I understand if you feel like our solution will provide a return on investment for you?”

Competition. “We are leaning towards a different solution”.

Your goal is to clarify what specific attributes the customer believes the other solution will handle better. You might ask: “What specific benefit are you thinking you will receive from this solution?”. Also, the customer many times will not want to mention what solution they are considering. It is good to ask, “I want to make sure you receive the best solution for your needs. We have seen situations where customers do not receive what they were promised. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, may I ask what solution you are leaning towards?” By knowing who you are up against you can usually directly address the specifics of competition’s solution.

Closing

You have now worked through the customer’s concerns and helped them understand the benefit of working with you by answering their objections. If there is still a good fit, you ask the final closing question:

“Our calendar is filling up fast. In order to secure your project in our work schedule, we need a [deposit amount]. The deposit is 100% refundable in case you change your mind before we start the project. Is the down payment something you would like to move forward with now?”

If they aren’t ready to move forward yet, ask them what else is holding them back from making a decision. You can now go back to the objections step and then handle those objections. Once those are done, you go to the closing statement again. After the second time through, you can say something like. “It sounds like you need just a little more time to think this over. I want to make sure we don’t lose our momentum on getting the chance to work together. Can we schedule a time in 1 week to circle back and talk some more? What does [day @ time] look like on your calendar?”

If you need to schedule the follow-up closing meeting, make sure you send at least one email that adds value and shows you are thinking about them. During the follow-up meeting, you start the objection phase over. When you ask the closing question again if they aren’t ready to move forward, it usually means they aren’t ready and you need to move on to other customers. On the rare chance you feel like they still could be interested, or you are talking about a very large deal size that has a longer timeframe, then you might need to schedule another follow-up closing meeting.

Overview of the Decision Phase

Need: The customer needs to understand your solution and how it will solve their problem.
Belief: The ideal customer believes your solution is the best way to overcome their problem.
Provide: A presentation of your solution that shows the return the customer will receive.
Action: Signed contract and deposit.
Follow up: Schedule a follow-up meeting if the customer isn’t ready to commit.
Analytics: Track email opens, track email clicks, track the number of follow up meetings.
Tools: Sales automation, Marketing automation

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