MicroLearning: How to Uncover a Buyer’s Evaluation Criteria

SPI is an innovator and thought leader, not only in sale performance improvement but also in learning and development. We are always searching for ways to improve learning and adoption, and aligning content delivery with an individual’s preferred learning style.

The video in this post is an example of one of our innovative NanoLessons. These brief videos are intended to provide your sellers with bite-sized learning refreshers at key points in the sales process. Often, these videos are embedded and launched right from your CRM. They play amazingly on a mobile phone or tablet.

Also, please notice the calls to action in the right-hand column and footer of this web page, where we are offer you an opportunity to download our Buyer Decision Criteria Template. 

If playing a video is not convenient for you now, we’ve provided this transcript below.

Let’s say that you’ve already engaged in an effective, consultative sales conversation and the prospect confirmed that they are interested in moving forward with the next steps.

You’ve determined the prospect to be a decision maker or power sponsor. Now, you want to ensure that you uncover their evaluation and decision making criteria so that you can satisfy it by creating and executing a joint evaluation.

Start Open-ended

Start by asking open-ended questions, like what steps they would like to take to evaluate you or the potential solution, or what they need from you in order to be comfortable in eventually making a purchase decision. They might have all kinds of ideas, or they might not really know and rely on you to suggest some criteria. Regardless, the point is to not argue the merit of what should be done, but rather to simply seek to understand what may be important to the prospect.

Aim for Specificity

Next, you can direct their conversation to be more specific. You may want to clarify any unusual steps that might not have been mentioned, but that you sense will be necessary. For example, if you and the prospect get to a point where you may want to do business, check for any legal reviews, technical reviews of the solution, or administrative approvals that you might need to address.

Take notes – capture the prospect’s responses. You may even want to plant seeds around delivering a proposal or potential value analysis so that you can begin to define what that might look like.

“Would you like a proposal from us? And as a part of that, will it require a value analysis?” If you know that the prospect will require these items, then you position them as questions to begin defining what those deliverables might look like: “When we prepare proposals, they normally come at the end of the evaluation process and they serve as a way of simply documenting everything we’ll collaborate on along the way. I’ll even suggest we review the document jointly ahead of its final delivery. I hope that sounds good to you.”

End Strong

By this point in the conversation, hopefully, you’ve uncovered and even influenced some of the evaluation criteria. Now, you’re in a position to suggest a plan of how to help the prospect evaluate the solution. You may want to end the meeting like this, “I’m going to take your evaluation criteria, and put together a draft plan of next steps for you to evaluate us. I’m going to send you an email summarizing today’s conversation, including that draft plan. I should send that email to you by the end of the week, and I’ll call to discuss it with you.”

The structure is really about having some simple, process-oriented questions, but it can yield a big dividend in terms of knowing what’s important to the prospect, and it can keep the opportunity progressing.


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