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The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition

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VOL. 36 | NO. 39 | Friday, September 28, 2012

Cultivating relationships with distinct buyer types

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Cultivating relationships with distinct buyer types

In today’s increasingly competitive world, it’s vital to know your audience and what language resonates with them most. The most skilled in sales are able to identify in mere minutes the buyer type with which they’re speaking and what factors most likely influence their decision to buy. Having this powerful information in your arsenal allows you to tailor your pitch accordingly and close more business.

There are five distinct buyer “types” – the financial, technical, user and executive buyer, as well as the champion, if you’re lucky.

It stands to reason that the financial or economic buyer is most concerned about price, as they are typically in control of the budget. Often, they are also the final decision maker. At times, they may be willing to sacrifice quality for price. This is often the buyer that asks about the return on the investment, so be prepared to demonstrate it.

While the technical buyer likely influences the purchase decision, they generally don’t make the ultimate decision. Instead, they are tasked by the decision maker with finding options and making recommendations. They may have their own purchase motivations. The technical buyer wants to ensure that what you’re offering is the correct technical solution and that it won’t cause them added headaches.

The user buyer is likely the one who will utilize your product day to day, and their primary interest will be how your product or service will help them do their job. That’s why you might hear a user buyer asking about tech support or to speak to other users to see about their experiences.

The executive buyer often has the final say. First and foremost, they are interested in how your offering will help the company advance its strategic goals, generate more profit, grow sales, or drive more customers. This buyer might ask how your product or service will help them compete in the marketplace more effectively.

Occasionally, one of these four buyer types may transition into the role of champion – so vested in your product or service, they begin to advocate on your behalf within the company. You may sway an already supportive buyer into a champion by simply explaining that you need their help. Champions seek ammunition to utilize as they overcome internal obstacles. Often, they will provide insight into key issues, schedules and the competition in play.

More often than not, multiple influencers weigh in on complex or expensive purchase decisions. You must identify each buyer type and cater your sales pitch accordingly to maintain control of the sale.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/