I just finished reading Craig Elias’ and Tibor Shanto’s book Shift!: Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers. The main idea of the book is that you can greatly improve your sales by improving your timing – namely, after they experience a Trigger Event and before they talk to your competitors.
The authors define three buying modes for customers – 1) Status Quo, 2) Window of Dissatisfaction, and 3) Searching for Alternatives. According to SHiFT, most salespeople spend the bulk of their time talking to prospects who are either in the Status Quo or Searching for Alternatives modes. However, the best time to make a sale is when the customer has entered into the Window of Dissatisfaction. If you want to be the first viable seller to see the decision maker when they are in the Window of Dissatisfaction, you need to be aware of the common Trigger Events that cause someone to move from Status Quo to the Window of Dissatisfaction.
This book is written from a salesperson’s point of view but I think it also provides some insights for marketers as well. According to the authors, we are five times more likely to close a sale if we reach the buyer when they are in the Window of Dissatisfaction stage vs. when they are in the Searching for Alternatives stage. Why is this important for marketers? One reason is that because information is so readily available on the internet and from our various networks (both online and offline), decision makers are much further along the path to the Searching for Alternatives mode before they ever talk to a salesperson. This is similar to the ideas that Ardath Albee wrote about in eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale.
There are plenty of examples and worksheets to help you apply the principles in the book to your particular situation. I found the ideas in the book to be congruent with what we teach in Duct Tape Marketing and what I’ve learned in Sandler Sales Training. There is plenty of good information here, but you will need to do some work to incorporate it into a system of your own and use it consistently to reap the benefits.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant