We've just passed the half way step in the prospect's buying process. We should still be under consideration if we have been found, our offering is included in their frame, their information needs have been met, and our offering fits key decision criteria.
The buyer has probably been informally making assessments of the alternatives to this point. However, he/she will eventually come to a point when he/she switches from information gathering mode to information assessment mode. This may happen because he/she has exhausted the information available. It could also occur because he/she is hitting a time threshold for his/her need.
A buyer will only hold onto a few alternatives going into the final purchase decision.
To simplify the final decision, the buyer will want to narrow down the alternatives he/she is seriously considering. He/sh is going to do this based on the criteria he/she has identified so far.
So, what is the buyer going to do with that criteria? He/she is going to prioritize it. Some criteria is more important than others. If your offering rates well for the highly ranked criteria, you will have an advantage. You can see why not only helping define that criteria list, but also ensuring the buyer understands how your offering rates for the criteria is important.
If you don't help prospects understand how and why your offering should be evaluated as you recommend, then the buyer will be left to do this him/herself. The outcome will not necessarily be accurate or in your favor.
There is no guarantee that the prospect won't evaluate your offering for each criterion on his/her own. However, if you are honest and open about how you rate for a criterion, this can minimize the difference in the results. It also earns you points in the emotional area of trust.
Buyers will also include criteria that aren't explicitly called out on the decision list.
There will always be decision criteria that isn't written down on the buyer's evaluation list. That criteria isn't facts or measurements. This unstated criteria is emotional in nature.
Emotional considerations are as important as technical ones in the buyer's evaluation.
Have you been helpful in the earliest stages of their search?
Do they believe what they have learned about you?
Do they trust you?
Do they like you?
You must also rate well in the emotional aspects to make it to final consideration. Buyers don't want to buy from a company they don't like or trust. It is for this reason that the best product doesn't always win.
Who does win?
The product with the best fit will win. Emotional considerations are a critical part of the "fit" equation.
So, to make it to final consideration, you must:
- Understand that criteria that the buyer will consider
- Recognize that individual buyers will prioritize criteria differently
- Help the buyer rate you on criteria that interest them
- Ensure that you rate well on the unspoken emotional criteria