This Week’s Big Deal: Boosting Buyer Confidence

September 23, 2019

In a boxing ring, the trainer plays many roles. They serve as advisor, mentor, and coach. They scout out weaknesses in the opponent, and help their own fighter correct mistakes with form or footwork. But perhaps the most important function a trainer plays on fight night is confidence-booster.

If you’ve ever seen a movie about the sport, you can probably recall a scene where — between rounds during an intense match — the trainer stands behind his resting boxer, rubbing their shoulders and barking words of encouragement. “Hang in there. You got this. You’re the champ!”

Sales reps are accustomed to playing the role of advisor, but these days, we’re increasingly relied upon to build a buyer’s confidence — not just in our solution, but in themselves to make the right decision. This was the leading insight shared at the Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference 2019 in Las Vegas (aka the boxing capital of the world) last week. 

“The single biggest sales challenge today is, in fact, customers’ confidence, but it’s confidence with a twist,” says Brent Adamson, vice president at Gartner, citing the firm’s research findings. “It’s not customers’ confidence in suppliers, but customers’ confidence in themselves and their ability to make good buying decisions that is in critically short supply.” 

How can we, as sellers, help address this shortage and infuse customers with confidence throughout their purchase journeys? 

How to Boost Customer Confidence During the Buyer Journey

It comes down to the practice of buyer enablement, which we’ve defined in the past as “giving prospects what they need to make good decisions – ideally, without feeling pressured or unduly influenced.” It’s a vital nuance in modern selling: You want to equip buyers with the tools and resources to find their own way, providing trustworthy support and guidance while not pushing them out of their comfort zone through aggressive pitching.

Here are four ways to hone this approach:

1. Refine Your Sales Collateral

It all begins with having the right content to share at the right time. When you provide information that strikes a prospect as genuinely helpful, they’re more likely to value it, appreciate it, and benefit from it. 

Last week, Demographica CEO Warren Moss asked: Is your B2B sales collateral as good as you think it is? Specifically focusing on brochures, he recommends including FAQs and case studies, framing yourself as a specialist rather than a generalist, and being authentic. 

It’s also important to have content tailored to different stages of the buyer journey. Early on, you may want to provide a prospect with information that is more objective and impartial; this helps them gain confidence in your broader knowledge of the industry, and in your earnest intentions. In the latter stages, it makes more sense to provide content that points toward your solution, with testimonials and success stories to back it up; this will help them gain confidence that they can choose you without regret.

2. Frame Your Discussions Around the Individual Buyer

In his recent post at Business 2 Community shining a spotlight on strategic selling, Bob Apollo addressed the need to get specific with our pitches.

“We need to show how both the organization and the key buying influencers will benefit as a result of embracing our solution,” Bob writes. “Every successful proposal needs to be able to answer the question ‘what’s in it for the company, for my department, and for my own personal goals?’ ”

For this to happen, you really need to get to know and understand the specific decision maker you’re engaging with. What are their personal aspirations? How can you make them look good in front of their boss? How will your solution positively affect their life, as opposed to just their company at large? 

3. Be Where Your Buyers Are

If you’re hard to find or get a hold of, it’ll be difficult to inspire confidence with buyers. In her writeup on unlocking business value as a B2B seller, Which-50’s Athina Mallis notes that buyers are getting younger, using mobile devices more often, and increasingly being influenced by online content. Collaborate with your marketing cohorts to ensure your brand is delivering exceptional mobile experiences, and that your company’s most important content is easy to find, even if you’re not the one delivering it. These are becoming baseline expectations for the modern customer.

4. Refine Your LinkedIn Selling Approach

For many reasons, LinkedIn is a great environment for building confidence with buyers. One factor is that — unlike a cold email — people are able to simply click on your name and learn more about you. With a glance at your profile, they can review your past experience and, based on your network and the content you share, they can quickly conclude that you’re actively immersed in the industry.

At Entrepreneur, Imran Tariq shared some additional tips for turning cold LinkedIn connections into clients without being sales-y or spammy. We covered similar ground here on the blog earlier this month. Tariq’s recommendations include using LinkedIn to complete ample research, personalizing every communication, and adding value through content sharing.

Move Forth with Confidence

When buyers feel confident, they are more decisive and convicted in their actions. Deals will come to fruition more quickly and — if you played a role in inspiring this confidence — they’ll be more likely to recommend you to others.

Achieving this requires that we put ourselves in the buyer’s mindset. Customize your content to their situation, make them the center of your approach, be available to them, and present yourself as a trustworthy person on social media. 

Oh, and be confident yourself. It can be contagious. 

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