Layering Buying & Selling Cycles

Chocolate CakeWinning facility service contracts involves two cycles: the buying cycle and the selling cycle.

“The Revenue Monkey & Sales Stages” outlines the sales cycle, but there’s another side of the story, the buying cycle.

Both the buying and selling cycles are about exchanging value and money.

Customers want results in exchange for their money. Contractors, money for their service results.

Contemporary sales training focuses on the buying cycle. The logic goes something like this: “Customers want to buy, they need to buy – so help them buy and get out of their way”.

Traditional sales training focuses on the selling cycle. The rationale is that contractors “have to take action to create sales – So, what are we doing?”

Which to Follow: The Buying or Selling Cycle?

Both. And that’s where it may get a little confusing. So here’s an easy analogy, it’s a piece of cake.

Actually, that’s the analogy, it’s a cake. A two layer cake, with a top and bottom. Cycles are layers and they align, but not exactly, and not everywhere all the time. Just like the buying and selling cycles.

Contractors are operational creatures of habit. While they must work a process to generate sales, success depends on serving customers in their buying cycle. It’s walking and chewing gum.

In case you were wondering, the frosting holding the cake layers together is information, understanding and creativity.

The Customer’s Buying Cycle

Here’s my take on the facility service customer’s buying cycle. It’s about customers’ awareness and motivation to/from problems and goals.

1) Oblivious Stage

In this stage customers aren’t aware of any problems. Or goals they want to achieve.

It’s as if they say “Pebble in my shoe? What pebble? What shoe?”

They’re clueless, or inexperienced, or way too busy to be tuned in to the facility service they’re supposed to be managing.

2) Aware Stage

Customers in this stage have become aware of a problem, a real pain. Or recognize they’re not achieving the goals they want, or should achieve.

But right now it’s not worth their effort to change. It’s just not a high enough priority.

They know they have a pebble in their shoe but aren’t doing anything about it.

3) Motivated Stage

Now customers know they have a pebble in their shoe and are doing something about it. And in the facility service industry, they’re doing one of two things:

a) They’re working with their current contractor to problem solve or achieve the goal

-or-

b) They’re in some stage of going out to bid (RFP preparation, pre-qualifying vendors, or in RFI/RFQ/RFP)

Sales Stages of The Revenue Monkey

Contractors must stack the customer’s buying stages on top of its selling stages. Like a layer cake. Sales stages described in “The Revenue Monkey & Sales Stages” include:

1) Pre-Approach

2) Initial Contact

3) Follow Up Campaign

4) Bid Opportunity

5) Bid Submittal

The layered cake looks like this.

Buying & Selling Stages

What It All Means

Do the work required by the selling stages, but (and there’s always a “but”) do it focusing on the customers’ behavior and motivation – based on their stage of the buying cycle.

Easily said, not done. And the devil’s in the details.

How are You Working the Buying & Selling Cycles?

~~~~~~

Chris Arlen
President, Service Performance

http://www.serviceperformance.com/

Technorati tags: buying, selling, service contracts

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