Four Buyer Styles in the Buying Cycle

A big problem facing salespeople is knowing where the buyers are in the buying cycle.  It’s not just how much information buyers already have gleaned from the Internet and social media – their feelings of how ready and eager they are to make changes in their situations still matter.  I believe that when salespeople look at both of these variables – knowledge and eagerness – buyers will reveal more precisely where they are in progressing toward a buy decision.  This enables salespeople to better respond and act accordingly.  And get that sale.

1. The Inert Buyer

Neither Knowledgeable nor Eager

The Inert Buyer is likely unaware they are entering a buying cycle.  Many buying cycles have schedules of their own and appear to some people as bolts out of the blue, even though evidence has been building (and likely ignored) for some time.  If there’s a genuine problem that needs facing, it’s best for salespeople to first help guide these buyers to understand and face their situation.  Their ordinary world is about to change.  If a salesperson tries to start too soon with options and solutions, the Inert Buyer may put their fingers in their ears and start humming until the salesperson goes away.

2. The Skeptical Buyer

Knowledgeable, but not Eager

On the surface, the Skeptical Buyer may seem easier to sell to than the Inert Buyer.  At least they know more.  The problem is, Skeptical Buyers may be armed with bias-inducing facts.  No matter what anyone says, they don’t want to change.  Know anybody like that?  For the Skeptical Buyer, you first have to deploy targeted facts and patiently wait for them to shift to a new position.  You never want them to think they were wrong.  When they come around a little, then you help them see how urgent their situation is.  Should a salesperson try to instill urgency too soon, however, the Skeptical Buyer will dig in deeper.

3. The Enthusiastic Buyer

Not knowledgeable, but Eager

Now we’re getting somewhere.  Enthusiasm!  Great.  But there’s danger lurking with buyers who are all velocity and no vector.  They may think they’re so far through the buying cycle that when you show up it’s of little consequence.  Good salespeople help pull Enthusiastic Buyers back from the ledge so they can think a little more before they leap.  Here’s where a patient and skilled discussion with the buyer can help them see all the options available.  You can save them time and money and make them grateful customers for life.

4. The Ready Buyer

Knowledgeable and Eager

Where have these buyers been?  Why don’t they show up more often?  The problem is that Ready Buyers are always out there, but sometimes that other salesperson gets to them first.  Ready Buyers aren’t unicorns, yet they can disappear on you in a nanosecond.  Perhaps when you encountered one you spent too much time on your pitch, didn’t let them talk, missed their shift tells, or even forgot to close.  Ready Buyers have a short shelf life.  Get in there and get a YES.

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