I’ve been a consultant for ten years.
The most surprising thing about selling to big companies is that they are afraid of smaller, newer vendors. It turns out that when you’re small or small-ish in comparison, the fear is on your side!
The whale hunting sales book I published in 2008, Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Deals and Transform Your Company, focused on what we knew from experience was a serious issue. But it wasn’t until readers had dealt with their own whale fears that they really understood the full extent of how much trouble these fears could cause them.
Buyers are driven by fear of Whale Deal
A study, The BuyerSphere Project, was published by Mediative (formerly Enquiro) in 2010. It found that people are more likely to be driven emotionally in business decisions.
I’ve also seen that the clients I work with have similar problems. A digital marketing company that was doing well and had a lot of success ran into this problem where they would win bids. Still, then their prospects said, “well, we were afraid you didn’t know our industry, so we went with someone else who knows us better.’ They were able to do very well in any field because it’s not specific to one type of business or industry, but for some reason, these potential customers felt like there wasn’t enough understanding from them.
The older partner’s plane was delayed, and he couldn’t be there, even though he wasn’t part of the presentation. They lost that bid but later found out, “we were afraid your lead person is just too young for this role.”
More and more companies welcome all ages to apply, especially during the hiring process. Learn more about it in this whale hunting sales book.
My fear is that a lot of executives and decision-makers in big companies have four fears:
When an enterprise changes, people will resist change if they can. They may have to move departments with new coworkers, be demoted or transferred to a different location, and do things they don’t want to do with people that make them uncomfortable.
Some people are very conflict-prone and will go out of their way to make sure they disrupt the workplace. Others may be more passive-aggressive but still cause problems because no one knows what’s going on with them.
Often, leaders and key decision-makers have a hard time making decisions because they are worried about what other people will say. They live with in-fighting, complaining, and turf wars because it’s much easier to go with the safe solution or stay at the status quo.
One of the biggest fears for any buyer is that their new vendor will be inexperienced and not know how to do things. This might lead them to think it’s better just to keep doing what they’re already doing.
The deepest fear for buyers is making a mistake. They’re afraid that they’ll choose you and then have to look bad when it doesn’t work out, or worse yet, cause the company to fail.
If they choose the status quo, it’ll be easy to blame them for a wrong decision. But if you fail, “heads will roll, and theirs might be one of them! Too risky!
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- That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
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