Selling Equipment to Uncertain Buyers

  November 15, 2012

  Read Time: 2 min 45 sec

The uncertainty of an equipment buyer is something that every successful equipment salesperson must deal with. 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 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 equipment needs in the face of rising concerns about whether now is the time to acquire it—or not. The brutal fact is that selling equipment during these turbulent economic times is a precariously uncertain endeavor. But if your business is selling equipment, uncertainty in the marketplace is something that you not only need to be aware of, but that you must 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 until they are certain that a “sound” buying decision can be made. This is a never-ending process however because, particularly now, 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 an equipment buyer is, the longer the sales cycle becomes. Indeed, the negative effects of uncertainty represent a powerful force holding back the economic recovery, even now, several years after the Great Recession “officially ended.”

Because uncertain and reluctant equipment buyers are constantly asking themselves, “When is the best time to acquire new equipment,” it is the equipment vendor’s role to answer the 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 vendor to smash through the barrier of uncertainty and to successfully close more transactions.

Equipment 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 business equipment instead of engaging in the kind of fear induced group-think that many companies are plagued with today, a business can gain a tremendous competitive edge.

The point once again is that the time to acquire equipment is when a business needs it, 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 acquire equipment 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 to 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 vendor must be an agent of change, a trusted advisor that shifts the balance of indecision. Businesses must move to acquire the equipment they need when they need it. That’s a powerful message, and one that every equipment dealer should be communicating to both customers and prospects, every day.

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