John O' Gorman

Buyers & Sellers Share Little In Common!

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When buyers and sellers meet they are often on the opposite site of a meeting room table.  Their roles are as different as those of doctor and patient, or teacher and student.

We often talk about buying as selling turned inside out.  But just how much have buying and selling in common?  More to the point are buyers and sellers focused on the same things?  Well, let’s compare what those involved in both role see as the important aspects of what they do.

What are the most important things in selling?

When you ask sellers what are the most important things in selling, you will hear such responses as the following:

  • Prospecting
  • Pre-qualifying
  • Presenting
  • Needs analysis
  • Defining the solution
  • Building Rapport
  • Proposing
  • Closing
  • Negotiation

Notice how these terms are active, rather than passive – the language suggests that selling is something that is done to, rather than with a buyer.

Check the table of contents of any sales book, or sales training and you are likely to see that these are the issues that are featured.  But just how consistent are they with the issues that are of greatest importance to buyers?  Well, as it turns out the two don’t have much in common at all.

What are the most important things in buying?

Ask buyers involved buying high value B2B solutions what is most important and they will highlight the following factors:

  • Making the right decision
  • The business case / rationale / justifying the expenditure
  • Getting the purchase / budget sanctioned
  • Following internal processes/procedures
  • Getting buy-in from other managers /depts
  • The competitive process
  • Getting maximum value for money
  • Defining requirements accurately
  • Evaluating alternatives / alternative solutions
  • Managing risk
  • Ensuring that all purchases fit with strategy, systems, etc.
  • Change management / ensuring successful implementation
  • Ensuring success post purchase / implementation
  • Doing more for less
  • Selecting the right technology
  • Selecting the right vendor
  • The contract and negotiation
  • Post purchase project and vendor reviews

Spot any surprises?  Well, the first think that strikes a salesperson is that there is a lot more to the major purchase than simply selecting a supplier.  Notice for example how liking, or even trusting the sales person hardly features.

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