If you search on Amazon for books on selling, the list goes on for ever. The advice out there is profound, in its complexity and number, and much of it is relevant only in certain cases or when you are working in certain conditions.
Salespeople in general are always looking for how to improve their results, whether this be in productivity or in profitability. There are many ways to skin a cat, as the saying goes, so much of what you will read and digest will have to be personalised by yourself to acquire the best information and application of that data.
One facet of sales that always intrigues our delegates on our courses revolves around the processes of differentiation in selling products and services. They know that one size doesn’t fit all cases, and their ability to personalise the approach is paramount when they are working with prospects and customers alike. The differentiation we will discuss here will help you ascertain which approach would be best for you to master.
Fortunately, we can narrow this process down to three components, and if you choose the right one, you can improve your chances of achieving a successful outcome.
The approach you choose can be determined by how badly your prospect is in need of your solution. We will call these approaches level 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1. This is where your prospect actually has expressed a desire for the solution you have to offer. You might call this the easiest sale you could make, as they have already said they need a solution like you are offering. Here, you INFLUENCE the decision-making process. By influencing, you assist the prospect to come up with the right decision for them or their business. Think of it as guiding them on the right path.
The statement might sound something like,
“By making this choice, you’ll start to see savings pretty soon, as your production will increase and your costs will go down. It really makes sense to do this as soon as possible, and I recommend we install within the next week so you can take advantage of those potential savings”
The Level 1 approach is the softest of the three, where the client is amicable and you have built desire for the results they would obtain with the solution.
Level 2. This is where the prospect has yet to make up their mind, is unsure on which way to go or has expressed doubt as to which solution would be best. Here, you can use your PERSUASION skills to help them come to a conclusion. You persuade them by helping them choose from a series of options that would help them achieve their goals. Options enhance the brains ability to choose. Not too many, of course. The optimum number is three.
It could sound something like this;
“OK, Mr Prospect, we have seen that you need to increase productivity and decrease costs. I have some alternatives for you. Firstly, the XY123 will help you reduce costs in the short-term. It’s the best choice for quick results. Another choice may be the same model with the additional capacity. The results will be longer term and you’ll get increased savings with the bulk-buying of materials. Finally, there’s the larger model, DC342, which offers all the benefits of the other model but with greater load capacity, so you spend less time reloading and re-ordering supplies.
My recommendation would be to take the larger model on our easy-pay contract, enabling you to build those savings quickly and efficiently. Do you see it the same way?”
This persuasive technique shows the prospect what the benefits are while pointing them in the right direction for their business. You persuade by highlighting the results and helping them come to the right conclusion.
Level 3. This would be where the situation has become sluggish or the process is stuck in a rut. It’s risky and can be seen as manipulative, so has to be used sparingly and with tact. It’s called FORCING THE ISSUE, and requires you to outline the pains of not making the decision and the gains of actually doing so.
It could sound something like,
“OK, Mr Prospect, we’ve looked at the alternatives and discussed what would work. I recommend we go with the DC342 because it will achieve everything you said you wanted. It will show immediate savings and, with the improved discounts I can give you on the materials, will improve your productivity as well as long-term savings. The sooner you install, the quicker those savings will show up on your bottom line. I can assure you it’s the best choice for your business. in the short-run and for long-term results.”
See…it’s risky because you’re forcing them to make a decision. But you’re also showing them the benefits of that decision. This takes a high degree of confidence and belief in your ability to give advice and you also need to have the trust of the prospect. When it works, though, they will thank you, because you are getting them out of the rut of indecisiveness.
So, those are the three levels of sales that you can work at. Try them when you next have to present solutions to prospects and see how you get on.
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For a prospect making a decision to buy means taking the risk of a competitor coming by soon after with a better proposal that is a better fit to the prospects situation.
How do we insure that we are making the prospect confident that they are making a good decision even if they are indecisive?
Watch this short video to find out the 7 steps on closing the deal with an indecisive client.
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The challenge is often raised – “if we know why people buy we would always sell to them!” We talk about “buying triggers” and we use plenty of related jargon to talk about the moment at which people buy something, the reasons people buy something and what we can do to influence it. It is possible to apply logic but logic has a funny way of being by-passed when people are involved.
The theorists amongst will always try to apply logic and theory and they might get it right some of the time, but the likelihood is their application of theory and logic will occasionally meet with the ‘order placer’ making them the ‘order taker’ rather than the influential, consultative sales expert.
Arguably, there is always a ‘moment’ and therefore a ‘trigger’. Something ticks the box for the buyer, and when added to all the other ticks on the list of ticks and crosses, the equation adds up to a sale being made.
The opportunity for those of us in sales is to recognise and influence how, when and why the boxes will be ticked and the trigger triggered!
A key element and critical success factor will always be the skills we apply to ‘understanding the buyer’. Too much talk in sales is about us, our approaches, our skills, the models we apply, the selling methods we prefer, the beliefs we carry about how to sell. The models drilled into us can result in a lack of real pro-active listening and real empathising with and aligning to the buyer. Must build rapport, must ask open questions, must elicit needs, must present features and benefits, must answer objections in a set way – so much focus on us and what we do, say, present, project – our image, the impression we create. What about the buyer? Oh yes, the buyer, we almost forgot they were still here!
Understanding The Buyer
A great concept! How about taking a journey from feeling comfortable in our shoes to feeling uncomfortable in their shoes? Walking a mile in the buyer’s shoes. Experiencing their world, their pain, their issues and their opportunities. How about giving them open space to express themselves and give us everything we could possibly need to propose a relevant, meaningful and valuable solution? A huge plethora of information and tools exist for us to use to ‘understand our buyer’ and how they think, feel, speak etc. An investment of time in reading some of the well-known models and systems can result in significant payoff for the seller. The ultimate payoff for us is our ability to match our language – spoken and unspoken – to theirs, and when we match, we sell. When we miss-match we don’t!
So… let’s apply our understanding of our buyers to the reasons why people buy. Every buyer goes through an emotional journey – note – emotional rather than logical. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about buying a toothbrush or our next car or home; the journey is always the same – no exceptions. The premise is, if we know the journey and we know where people are on the journey, we can assist them to complete it by making a purchase – simple!
So…. What Is The Journey?
Known as INK purchasing psychology an applicable regardless of what we buy. Try the toothbrush test, try something you recently purchased, try something you’re considering right now. It fits doesn’t it?!
The title was… people buy for a reason not logic. The bullet points above give you the reasons, the challenge is, which of the steps can you influence and how can you best influence them so that the buyer completes the journey with you?
Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:
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