Published November 15, 2012 | Updated October 30, 2020
Buyer uncertainty is something every successful equipment salesperson must deal with, particularly in our current business environment. But even at the best of times, it goes with the territory – nobody ever suggested that being a salesperson was easy. Competitive pressure, solutions suitability, price, and buyer’s remorse top the list of the thousand or so things that can derail an equipment transaction before it happens. The very act of selling is almost, by definition, an uncertain undertaking.
A much more dangerous type of uncertainty though, is the type that settles over equipment buyers as they weigh their needs in the face of rising concerns about whether now is the time to acquire it. The brutal fact is that selling equipment during these turbulent times is a precariously uncertain endeavor. But if your business is selling equipment, uncertainty in the marketplace is something you not only need to be aware of but also aggressively tackle head on.
In the equipment sales cycle, uncertainty creates a timing issue. Uncertain buyers tend to delay the decision to acquire equipment and software until they are certain that a “sound” buying decision can be made. But this is a never-ending process because uncertainty can never be fully eliminated from the equation.
When business owners, managers, and executives become so obsessed with what’s happening down the road, the sales process is extended, sometimes indefinitely. Equipment acquisition is delayed, and everything grinds to a halt. Invariably, the more uncertain a buyer is, the longer the sales cycle becomes.
Uncertain and reluctant buyers are continually asking themselves, “When is the best time to acquire new equipment and software?” It is the dealer’s role to answer that question. And the answer is simple: whenever the business needs it. Consistently focusing this message on customers and prospects is one of the best ways for an equipment dealer to smash through the barrier of uncertainty and to close more transactions successfully.
Buyers need to understand that all businesses, more or less, face the same economic, political, and regulatory uncertainties as everyone else. So from a competitive standpoint, these factors tend to cancel themselves out because everyone must deal with them. So if a business leverages it properly, uncertainty can instead become a competitive advantage. By forging ahead with needed equipment and software investments instead of engaging in the kind of fear-induced groupthink that many companies are plagued with today, a business can gain a tremendous competitive edge.
Once again, the time to acquire equipment and software is when a business needs them, not when there is no more uncertainty, because that will never happen. Uncertainty is a part of doing business, and for that reason, the decision to get equipped is a straightforward, calculated decision based on operational necessity, not on multiple scenarios of the future.
When equipment is needed to streamline operations, improve efficiency, or boost productivity – all of which will ultimately increase profitability – a business must acknowledge the need and move decisively to meet it. Any other approach has the opposite effect, ultimately costing the business money.
The equipment dealer must be an agent of change, a trusted advisor that shifts the balance of indecision. Businesses must move to acquire the solutions they need when they need them. That’s a powerful message, one that every dealer should be communicating to both customers and prospects every day.