As you begin to engage your prospect in the sales process, it is important to understand how they move through a decision to find a solution. If you communicate the wrong message at the wrong time, you could risk losing the sale so it is important to understand your customers concerns as they move through a sales process and tailor your communication to support their focus during each of the three phases of a buying decision.
Phase I: The focus is on the pain
At this point in the process, a problem or challenge has surfaced and your prospect is evaluating if this problem is truly compelling and once they engage to find a solution, they will be looking to validate that you understand their needs and looking to see if you have a possible solution. At this stage, initial concerns are focused on the business need. At this point, cost isn't as an important of a factor since the customer is primarily looking for a business fit. Once the customer sees the need, the focus turns to finding a solution.
Phase II: The focus is on the potential
After your prospect feels you have a possible solution, they will move to the next phase - does this solution have potential? They will be evaluating you to see if you can deliver the solution on time and on budget and be interested if you have the right resources, process, and people. Basically, they are wondering if it is worth moving forward. Remember, this is an investment of time, risk and money for them so at every phase, they will be asking is it worth it to move forward. Phase II is all about finding alternatives and finding solutions remains a top level concern. At this stage risk enters into the process as the customer evaluates the risk around making this decision. Risk to their careers and risk to their current process and way of life.
Phase III: The focus is on the value
In the final stage, the customer focuses his attention on the risk/reward tradeoffs and identifying value becomes paramount. Once you have demonstrated that not only you understand their business need but also have a solution, your customer shifts his attention on conducing a cost benefit analysis. At this time price and value enter into the picture and your prospect is evaluating interested in all tangible and intangible benefits of implementing your solution. At this point, it is important to also focus on mitigating any risk that comes with your solution and demonstrating why your offering has the best value over the next best alternative.