How clients think

Not every approach works, so you may need to filter the client’s attitude first. Here’s a guide. SUE BARRETT

Sue Barrett

By Sue Barrett

Selling can get quite confusing sometimes, with prospects or clients saying one thing and doing another. It’s hard enough that you put in all that effort and have your sale go nowhere.

It might help you to know, if you don’t already, that when selling there are mainly four different “buying states”. They are classified as:

  • Opportunity
  • Problem
  • Static
  • Blinkered

Two buying states show that a sale is possible, and two show that a sale may be difficult or unlikely

Opportunity: Your prospect recognises there is an opportunity to move forward or progress to a goal. This is a powerful motivator for the key decision maker clients who are independent, self sufficient and confident.

Problem: Your prospect recognises that there is a problem that must be rectified and addressed. This is a powerful motivator for the key decision maker clients who are concerned, responsible and accountable.

Static: Your prospect feels that business is going well and that significant change is unnecessary. They cannot see a reason to change. And even if you can see they need to change, if they can’t or don’t then you cannot make them change.

Blinkered: Your prospect feels that they are already doing everything to an optimum level and that almost nothing could improve upon their performance.

It should be noted that static and blinkered buying states indicate a sale is unlikely if held by people of sufficient influence over the decision. If a new person enters the sales process with one of these buying states, the sale is in jeopardy and a strategy needs to be developed to overcome that resistance (if possible).

Options to change static and blinkered buying states could include:

  • A change in a situation.
  • Their viewpoint is swayed by another key influencer of the sale.
  • New information changes their viewpoint.
  • Other forces such as market changes, customer comments, competitors, etc force change.

No relationship ever works effectively if it is forced. You will just have to bide your time in some cases.

For instance I am waiting on the outcome of a large tender/proposal that has taken me 10 years to get work on. The client has finally realised they need a contemporary selling culture. Did I prospect them every week? NO! But I kept them in my sights, made contact every now and then to see if they were ready, and waited while I worked on other projects in the meantime.

I hope this helps you navigate your way on your sales journeys. Happy selling.


Sue Barrett is founder and managing director of BARRETT, a boutique consultancy firm. Sue is an experienced consultant, public speaker, coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating high performing people and teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. Click here to find out more

For more Sell Like a Woman blogs, click here.



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