(Part -2 of the 3-part study on Customer Experience.)
As a customer I have always felt something’s amiss when the Salesperson rushes me to make a decision. Statements of the sort, “You have to tell me in the next one hour!” or “The offer lasts only till the end of the day”, made me smell a fish. How about you?
Prakash and Priya were buying a car – the need was a city runabout, a small car that would be easy on the pocket, on upfront cost and recurring cost. Priya would be the user, but Prakash, being the more car-savvy one of the two, did the buying. In Part-1 we saw them reach a decision and buy the car from a popular maker.
But in the run-up to that purchase Prakash had visited numerous outlets to test-drive cars and to gather information on the models that were priced in their budget range. The reception he got from the Salespersons at the dealership and the steps they took to acquaint him with the car and the process were worth further study.
There was one particular 3-day spell in the month-long exercise during which Prakash felt choked and haunted. He was analyzing a car that was at the higher end of the price range and the terrible episode was sparked by his first call to the dealership. The designated salesperson immediately brought a car for a test-drive and delivered the message in the sweetest manner possible. He increased the self-esteem of the potential buyer by remarking how smart Prakash looked in the car and how it would feel each day to use such a classy car.
After the drive the Salesperson requested Prakash to visit the showroom in order to check their facilities and also to get information on the finance and registration formalities. Prakash obliged by making the visit the very next day.
Prakash was not sure that he and Priya would buy this model – mainly on account of the acquisition / maintenance cost. But, the Salesperson wouldn’t take “No!” for an answer. He asked how soon they would make a decision and Prakash gave a vague reply because he had more or less made up his mind, after a quick chat with his wife, not to buy this brand / model.
But the Salesperson, quite obviously under pressure to make the sale, kept calling. He would call 3 – 4 times in the day and each time give some sort of inducement or speak about the benefit of an immediate decision. He would call when Prakash was busy at work and later when he is relaxing at home. There was no way of getting away from this person – and when he wasn’t calling there would be text messages to remind the customer about the pending decision.
Prakash had mentioned after the first day that although they had not decided yet they would going for another brand, but the Salesperson was not willing to give up. However his constant follow-up was actually driving his potential customer nuts.
On the third day Prakash had to use harsh words and threaten the Salesperson with dire consequences if he called again. He had been driven up the wall and couldn’t handle it any longer.
While enthusiasm and perseverance are good qualities it can’t be taken to the extent that customers feel annoyed or harassed. A professional sales person would know where to draw the line in this regard. He would stop following-up on the sale when he realizes that the customer has made up his mind to buy another product.
He also knows that the thoroughness of the work done by him will ensure that the customer would call him if there is any change of plan.
In fact it’s something he would do as a closing routine “I would have loved to get your sale, but I respect your decision to go elsewhere for the purchase. However, if you do change your mind feel free to call me. Happy driving!”
That’s the focus of your pitch – to make sure that the customer goes away having positive thoughts about you and your product.
Haste only makes a great waste!
Harish, the Business Head of Netwhizz Technologies, is presenting a portal solution to a client (MD & Sales Manager present). This is a follow-up meeting and the Tech Specialist is with him to provide inputs on the “how” bits of the solution. They are describing to the client, who is in the Education Services business, the component of the solution – how their portal concept would help to improve his online presence and the ways this investment would provide useful business returns.
The meeting has not been going well because the MD is not happy with the solution offered and he was not making any attempt to hide his displeasure. The solution seemed too plain and uninteresting. He didn’t see it giving him any of the expected results. He said that Netwhizz had not read his requirements well and were trying to palm off a second-hand solution.
The Bossman walked up to the white-board to explain couple of ideas he had thought up since the first meeting. He wanted to portal to be different from those of his competitors – it had to stand-out! He had thought up the flow (how a person visiting the website would interact with the elements seen there) and even conceived a catchy interface that would be in the form of a game. But it was not cast in stone, he said; if they could rework the idea with any other interesting concept which could make his portal interesting he was willing to play along.
While his back was turned to the rest of the group Harish looked at his tech-man and made a funny face, as if to say that the client was talking utter rubbish. He had an expression of disinterest throughout and was not paying attention.
While the client was describing the process Harish butted in to say – “That is what I have been saying all this while.”
The MD had not seen the play of emotions on Harish face, but his deputy had. But when this intrusion came the MD stopped the discussions and said abruptly – “Harish, thank you for your time. I am not happy with what you have shown me. If you can think up something better do come back another day with it. But don’t waste my time. In the meantime I am talking to a few other service providers too”. With that he walked out of the Conference Room.
Harish’s face now looked like it had received a slap with a wet fish!
We often forget that even when we remain silent our face is telling a big story – what’s going on inside our head is presented through our eyes and expressions.
And our words reveal those thoughts and feelings. Harish could have remained silent and listened to what the MD way conveying, even if it was what he had presented earlier. Then at an opportune moment he could have presented it as confirmation of the client thoughts. After all, letting the client win is the big idea in Sales.
Harish should never have conveyed his disinterest and scorn through his expressions – even if he felt those were poor ideas it could have been said outside the room. But then any smart Sales Pro knows that there are no stupid ideas in this world and you get nowhere by calling your client a fool.
Beware! One wrong expression, or word, can cost you a fortune!
I walked up to the Convenience Store near my office to buy a packet of chewing gum – the man in charge of the store was seated at the entrance, gazing at the world going by. He reluctantly got up and fetched the item and extended it to me.
I paid him Rs.10/- and waited for the change – he smiled and said: “No change!”
There is a shop right next door and he could have easily walked across to ask for a small loan, just enough to pay me, if they didn’t have change for 10. The amount could have been returned later in the day.
But he didn’t do that! I stared incredulously at the man for a few moments and walked away. I am sure he expected me to fetch the change, because the need was mine. Well, he had another guess coming. One is never desperate for gum … Not me, for sure!
Have you seen this happen – you walk into a store and the Salesperson doesn’t seem interested in your custom.
In another instance I walked into a white-goods outlet and saw the entire team in the store gathered in front of the TVs on display to watch India play Pakistan in an ODI match. They were so engrossed in the proceedings on TV that my presence was not noticed till I called out to get attention. And then it was a reverse tug-of-war with each of them trying to coax one of others to attend to my needs – I am sure each of them was saying “Killjoy!” in their head – it was quite evident from their expressions!
(Purely as an aside let me ask, have you noticed how during cricket matches in India the Policemen positioned at the periphery of the ground are seated with their backs to the audience and enjoying the match, while in England you would see them with their backs to the playing area to make sure that law and order is maintained in the stands. Now, who is the smart cop?)
The margin available on a packet of gum would not be significant, but if the Salesman were to repeat such behaviour on a regular basis the consequent loss of income in a month would be huge. And in both the examples given above it is likely that over a period of time less and less customers would show interest to do business with them.
Often it’s because the person is totally demotivated and lacking interest in his job – for a variety of reasons. This little convenience store on a side road would not be receiving much business on any given day and hence it makes the owner’s behavior monumentally stupid. One hopes that he has read the writing on the wall and shows more enthusiasm and interest in his customers.
If the entire complement of staff in the white-goods store were to focus on a game or behave in a lukewarm manner when customers walk in, the outlet would soon be on the chopper’s block – the owners would have to shut shop. This outlet belongs to a retail brand that has a number of outlets across the city. Poor performance on a regular basis at one outlet could cause a lot of negative publicity in the market that can impact the entire chain and potential loss of revenue for the stake-holders. Are the Supervisors / Managers aware of the situation?
I hope for their sake that my experience was an exception, a minor aberration, and that the behavior is more energetic and correct at most times.
It is essential for senior managers in the organization to sense-check what is happening in their empire. It shouldn’t be that things were rotten and the smell reaches them only after things are way beyond repair.
Employees need to be reviewed, trained and coached regularly to ensure that they battle ready and eager to provide service – they need to stay motivated all day, all year round. There is no room for complacency and slackness.
Customers need to sense that their presence is appreciated and that their patronage is valuable.
Sales Pros, please put your best foot forward and give them your best smile. The customer may not knock a second time because he has other options today.
The need was a computer – not a high-end one because I wasn’t a software programmer or a gamer. And since I wasn’t a high-end gizmo freak the fancy brands weren’t under consideration either – a sturdy machine that permitted use of regular office applications, access to Social Media and viewing videos was the need of the hour.
The first shop visited after research on the Internet and discussion with family and friends had shown no interest in my patronage and I walked out in disgust.
At the next one I was greeted by a young Salesman who had no experience in Computer Sales and had not been trained to do the job. I was at my wit’s end and on the verge of walking out a second time when like a welcome breeze a smart young guy named Sanu walked up and introduced himself. He had sensed that I was not happy.
The first thing he did was request me, with a pleasant smile on his face, to get seated at one of the Discussion Consoles arranged in the showroom. He took my name and telephone number and asked me to describe my work and the applications I regularly used at my workplace. With a few smart questions he was able to understand my requirement with great clarity. My annoyance was evaporating.
He even asked whether I had narrowed in on any particular brand – that indicated his awareness of the decision-making process followed by most prospects. The most heartening aspect of Sanu’s presentation was his ability to balance business with the personal touch. He was friendly without being invasive and all that was done while focusing on the customer’s requirement. He clearly defined my need and kept me in good humour throughout the interaction.
I had gone in search of a Dell machine but he insisted that I buy Samsung. Suspicious me immediately got my antenna up because I thought he was doing it either to dump unsold stock or trying to earn a higher commission.
But he explained that Dell and other reputed brands used components purchased from Samsung – even iPhones and iPads had components made by Samsung. He went to explain why Samsung was better than Dell in the range I had zeroed in on I cross checked with my son and the IT savvy friend and got confirmation on the points discussed. Sanu waited patiently while I checked – the mark of a Salesman who was confident and knew what he spoke about. He did not interrupt at all, nor did he show any discomfort.
Even after I had confirmed the truth in his argument Sanu cheekily said that I can go for Dell if I wished. That is the hallmark of a professional – ability to use humour appropriately; that only comes with confidence and courage.
Sanu saw me through the process and before I left the showroom he said, while handing over his card – “Give me a call if you need any further help.”
There you have it – a job done well; another happy customer in the market.
He had built rapport, effectively deployed his persuasion skills and proven that he knew the subject well – all this was done in a friendly manner.
It was only yesterday that a friend from Dubai had shared an interesting video on the Science of Persuasion. I could relate Sanu’s performance with the many of the elements of persuasion identified by Prof. Cialdini. Take a look while I boot up my new laptop.
Bought a laptop! Nothing fancy – just a sturdy, middle-of-the-road, Samsung. My son endorsed the purchase saying, “Good choice! We had the least returns and complaints for Samsung laptops!” He should know, having worked for a year with India’s leading electronics retail chain.
Before visiting the outlets in town I did the following:
- Asked a few of my students – the young set should know these things
- Discussed with a friend who is a Software Engineer
- Checked a few online retail portals known for special prices and offers
The next step was to visit couple of good stores in town to touch and feel the models and maybe get a test drive too. But I was disappointed – the shops that I visited couldn’t demonstrate the model I asked for.
Now, isn’t that a major gap in Electronic Goods market – most of the Camera, Computer and Smartphone retailers don’t permit you to test the product. They either have Dummies or show you a catalog. The products are in sealed cases that are opened when the sale is complete. How stupid is that?
Add to that a set of Sales Executive who know precious little about the products or the software applications! At the shop where I eventually made the purchase the Sales Executive who met me first had been working for that outlet for just one week and his previous job was with a two-wheeler dealership. Wow!
I probably would not have bought from this shop either if this tyro had continued dealing with me; fortunately, someone who knew his job took over and I ended up taking a speedy decision on the purchase.
But before I go into those details let me describe the scene at the store I visited first; it is a popular one – they’ve been in business for a few years. I had short-listed 2-3 brands for further investigation, but curiosity made me look beyond that; since I was already there it didn’t hurt to check everything out.
But the Sales Exec in the store had other plans – the moment he discerned that I am Mr. Middle Class and looking for nothing fancy his responses turned perfunctory and cold. It was not as if there were other customers in the store – I was the only prospective buyer in their large showroom. But after showing me 2-3 pieces he moved away to talk to his superior and left me to fend for myself.
I did the obvious …. I walked out. And you know what, this boy did not even care enough to take my name and phone number! How unprofessional was that? I probably would not have shared information after that experience but it was his job to ask. It’s as if he had not even considered me as a prospect.
The store had lost a prospect for good!
Why didn’t I just purchase the item from a website and avoid undergoing such disappointments?
- Delivery Time for online purchases is a week
- Still worried about the lack of human interface for big ticket purchases
- The difference in price was not large enough to swing my decision
Maybe the concerns about buying things on the Internet would change when the online business gets better and more established – this is purely from the Indian context; so much hanky-panky taking place in the market. I guess websites are best for commoditized or low involvement products and impulse purchases – am not so sure whether customized products could be sold as well in this format?
The other thought that I wish leave with you is that the lack of connect on the Sales Executive’s part had left me cold. He didn’t make an effort to win me over. I felt like a car in cold weather, not ready to go!
To be continued …..
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A few years back I went on a sales call with a gentleman from Australia – we were making a pitch for Sales Training. The meeting was with the Sales Head of the Indian arm of a MNC.
The appointment had been arranged at short notice and we had a 15 minute slot in the busy man’s diary – the idea was to make a quick first impression.
After introductions I tried to build rapport by asking him some questions not related to business – the intention was to get to know the person better and to find some common ground. Since he is from the same part of the country as I a few questions focused on that aspect and he responded in monosyllables – the man just didn’t seem inclined to open up.
My friend diverted the conversation back to business and things went on normally; we closed the meeting promising to send him some more inputs to build our case. I did not visit that client again because this was just a one off case – the account was being managed by someone else in our team.
Post the meeting we did an analysis and my Australian friend was of the opinion that I had probably over-stepped and the client had snubbed me. It seemed so, but maybe not!
Dissecting the situation some more I came up with the following:
- Maybe my line of questioning could have been different. I had turned on the juice too much, too soon.
- This person was very business-like and liked to dominate the conversation; and here I was trying to control the conversation – he wouldn’t let that happen so early in the case.
- My Australian friend probably had a lot of experience in selling to Australian clients but he did not know India or Indians. He had not sold much here. But I did not tell him that.
My Indian readers will agree with me when I say that we ask a lot more personal questions than people from the West. I have had complete strangers ask me about my marriage and my income.
I am sure you have heard the statement “We are like that only!”
So it is OK in India to get a bit more personal than elsewhere given sufficient safeguards and limits – those who have lived or worked outside the country for extended periods of time would feel a bit uncomfortable or offended and some of the senior officials would probably not share too much information for fear of losing control.
But even they have a melting point – they are Indians after all. Just that we have to deal with each person and situation on merit and play our cards right.
It is also essential to sense check and retract if the situation is getting sticky – maybe I had tried the ploy with the wrong person on that day and used the wrong tack. It’s best to remember the context, the stage of the Sale we are at, the background and the position of the individual we are meeting.
I conclude by saying that it is essential for us to build relationship with our client in order to win business. One just needs to do it in style and in the right dose – get your foot in the door, not in the mouth!
Out on the beat to get participants for one of the scheduled training engagements I walked into the office of a senior functionary of a well-known Builder. After checking that he could spare a few minutes I plunged into the pitch.
Instead of going through the process of understanding the size of the opportunity, or even the existence of the need, I talked on about the training program and at the end of the conversation handed over the program brochure and asked him to nominate people from his team for the session.
After walking out of the room I asked myself these questions:
- What was I trying to achieve in that call?
- Do I know how many participants would attend?
- Do I know the size of his team and hence the potential business opportunity
- Did I inform the man that it is a paid program?
I analysed the call afterwards and realized that in the lead up to the visit I had not prepared the following:
- The clear outcomes – it could just be confirming that the customer has understood our proposition or me understanding the size and scope of his operations and the strength of his team. The Sales Professional has to keep a set of smart questions ready and getting them answered will take him firmly forward in the sale.
- Check Understanding – I did not confirm before leaving the prospect that he had understood the scope of the program or its price. I had left the brochure and hoped he would find out.
- Next Steps – No clear commitment was take from the prospect, nor was any timeline fixed for the next interaction. What he would do post my visit to help me win a sale wasn’t discussed.
All afternoon I had been preparing proposals meant for other clients and had rushed for this meeting, which was scheduled for 5 p.m.; to make things worse I had an appointment following this one and the client I was meeting had indicated a time-window following which he would not be available. That deadline caused some stress and I had rushed into this meeting as if it were a filler item.
No visit to the customer should be treated as a casual affair. You are begging for trouble if you walk into a call unprepared. Your reputation is at stake – your organisation’s reputation is at stake.
Today there are a dozen other options available in every sector; there are competitors snapping at your heels at every turn. Being stupid is not an option.
Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!
It takes all kinds to make the world and if you are in Sales or Business Development chances are that you will encounter every sort … and a few more!!
Sales is not for folks who give up too easily or too soon, nor is it for the kind who want everything laid out on the line – if you want people to be predictable and everything to happen in an orderly fashion get a job in a funeral parlour.
Jokes apart, Sales is an avocation meant for those who love excitement and unpredictability – and can deal with a lot of chaos.
I spent two hours training a young Executive in tele-calling skills and then asked her to make calls. I had mentioned that it is not going to be easy and that she will encounter a lot of resistance. 30 minutes later she appeared with a pathetic expression on her face – “Sir, most people are not answering my call and the ones who answer tell me to call later.”
I smiled – sent her back to work saying she has to ask those people to give her another slot to call.
A little after that she was back – “Most of them are saying we don’t want training for our staff at present. They want to know how I got their number.”; giving a few more inputs to deal with such queries I sent her to her seat fully aware that she would return with more complaints. This young person, like so many I meet these days, is not able to stick to a game-plan for sufficiently long period. They are not willing to try new things and want results too soon. Maybe I will have to give her another day or two and permit her to go through the cycle of experiments and queries before I start looking for someone else who is more tuned to this job – finding a needle in a haystack is an easier prospect.
A friend and I were out all day yesterday making sales visits – we met senior officials in the IT and HR department at four well-known organisations.
The first gentleman we met headed the IT Department in a reputed college for technical studies. His handshake was cold and limp and he was extremely closed to ideas – later I realised that he was not reasonable either. The institution had purchased a few IT products from my friend couple of years back and now they are out of warranty – like the typical Government institution they had sat on the file till the warranty had expired and had not purchased a Maintenance Contract in time. An item went faulty and he was miffed when the Hotline Executive informed him that the service would be done at cost. Our client said that the vendor needs to be more flexible. It was obvious that this man had been irritated by the way the message was delivered to him and my friend worked overtime to cool his temper. Our IT Head said vehemently that the next tender being released soon would be finalised in favour of the supplier who is willing to bend rules / processes for them – wonder why it’s always the other party that needs to be flexible.
At the next institution the Department Head we visited continued working at the computer while we spoke. When we stopped to let him finish the task he asked us to go on. By the time we left he had printed a document and cross-checked the printed copy with the monitor – did he expect the printout to be different from what was in the computer? While walking back to the car after the call my friend said that this man had not been easy to deal with even in the past and was known to resort to unethical practices. And since we had not offered him any benefit in the past the cold shoulder was what we received in return.
The third customer was a major Publishing Company. The H.R. – Head gave us the appointment with no fuss. He listened to us silently and without expression – I even wondered whether he was thinking about something else. But when I finished explaining the salient features and benefits of a training program that was being conducted by us in November he gave us 2 participants. It was a pleasant surprise to me. I had felt resistance all the while and never expected this to happen. But we had stuck to the task and given him what he wanted to hear. It was obvious that he had this requirement for a while and we visited his office at the opportune moment. It was good to get a positive response after two bad calls.
The Administration Head of a private hospital was our next destination – he was very receptive and friendly. He listened to us, asked questions and later responded to our queries in detail. He took great pains to tell us how different his business and employees were different from other organisations – don’t we all wish to believe that. He wanted a training solutions uniquely tailored to his organisation’s / team’s specific needs. I wish I had a dollar for every time a prospect said that – I would be rich by now.
In the first visit we had to display empathy and listening skills, the next one demanded that we do not display any irritation or ill-will in our words and expressions, in the third one we had to remain enthusiastic and alert and in the last one we had to match the enthusiasm of the customer and support his feeling of being unique and different.
Each visit / encounter is a challenge. The Sales Professional needs to be receptive and pliant, yet firm. Like an octopus he needs to change his colour and form to match that of the environment.
Sales is dynamic and demanding, but fun; it calls for a lot of patience, flexibility and mental agility. It is a people management challenge all the way. Be prepared to meet them!
A friend who runs a business in the IT Sector has appointed 2 young techies for the Sales & Support function.
From previous experience he knows that these guys won’t be able to make any big catches in the initial months – so they are used almost all the time for pre-sale estimates, post-sale support visits and to handle inbound queries on the phone.
Occasionally the tyros are sent out to handle sales enquiries – they take on such assignments with a lot of reluctance and almost always return empty-handed with more work for either the owner or for one of the seasoned campaigners.
These boys have a huge mountain to climb because the customers they are expected to sell to are in the Medium and Large Account categories. That means large ticket sizes and marquee deals, but it also means longer Sales Cycles, need for customisation in the Solutions and complexities in the Sales Process. It’s a bit like throwing minnows into the shark-pool with no warning.
They have sound technical skills and can deal with the problem with fairly high level of competence; but dealing with people is an absolute No-No! They do not know how to start and extend a business conversation. They are unable to ask the right questions nor can they convince the customer to buy a solution that’s on offer. They give up too soon and seem unwilling to visit senior level officials.
There is a a lot of discomfort and lack of confidence mainly on account of poor social, interpersonal and communication skills. Selling is an attitude, not just a skill.
My friend’s situation is not unique – it is a challenge faced by the market at large; there is an alarming drop in availability of sufficient talent for the Sales Function.
There are a number of other job options available in the market – Call Centres and BPOs are offering decent salaries to starters and then there is the added attraction of an air-conditioned work environment and a trendy crowd to work with. Even Event Management outfits and Caterers are able to entice people with attractive salary and perks. Modern Retail is another segment that is preferred by the young set. Most of these jobs are done indoors and entail less travel.
There is a huge drop in the the number of people interested in mainline Sales jobs that involve daily travel and 8 to 10 visits to customers per day.
Corporates and Businesses are exploring other ways to reach the prospects – there is a desperate need to maintain and improve the lead generation levels.
Some of the methods currently being added to the Sales Function
- Inside Sales – Using the telephone to generate leads and close sales. The entire process is done on the phone. This space is growing, albeit slowly, in India. But we have many Call Centres that are selling to the Western Markets.
- Inviting prospects to the office for a Demo cum Sale. Relationship Managers of Banks, Insurance and Holiday companies set up meetings with prospective clients on the phone and invite customers to visit them for a discussion.
- Leveraging the Sales Team of another organisation – some organisations are offering a fat commission to other organisations for generating fresh business – even government departments, the Postal Department is one such, have got into this game.
- Usage of intermediaries to increase the size of the catchment area – Insurance Companies have been using banks as a channel to generate insurance business; even loans and other products of their sister concerns are sold by many banks.
- The Internet and Social Media are being used to pull the prospective buyer into a sales conversation – the early part of the sale or in many instances the entire sales happens on the internet.
My friend has had to resort to appointing people with poor sales talent on account of the huge dirth of talent in the market – he is more than willing to pay for good resources, but they just aren’t available. At present, he is busy sprucing up his website to make it more attractive, informative and user friendly and considering tie-ups to improve the prospect pipeline.
The business of selling is seeing a sea change!
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In Sales parlance we called it the Close – that is when the Sales Professional prompts the prospect to take a decision and reward her or him with the business.
It is a critical phase of the Sale and in some ways all the actions taken by Sales Professional during the sales process are intended to facilitate that event.
I have mentioned in the past that there have been instances where a sale developed by one member of my team was brought home by another member; and I don’t have to repeat here that it causes a lot of dissonance and as leader I have a tough time in restoring order and in pacifying the irate loser.
The buyer had been primed to make the purchase but the first guy just wasn’t able to clinch the deal. There are some critical activities to be done close to the business end of the sale. The man who got the business was more conversant with these than his team-mate.
1. Reduce complexity
Sales Professionals know that as the Sales Process moves forward they have to change the nature of questions and the way their responses are structured. The questions become more specific and tilt towards finding all the key elements of solution sought by the buyer.
It also makes sense not to give too many options to the buyer as they near the decision – increasing options can only confuse them. Hence, even if a number of options exist in your portfolio it is best to choose the most appropriate 2-3 and suggest them to the buyer – two would be ideal. If the buyer is looking at more than that you have to get them to eliminate a few based on the buying criteria.
2. Facilitate the decision
That uncertainties are an unavoidable accompaniment of decisions is well – known and that makes people postpone or pass-on the responsibility. It is either fear of a negative impact or the possibility of discovering a better option post the decision that clouds thinking.
Hence, the Salesman needs to work with the prospect and show them that the parameters they have set for making the purchase have been met and the necessary safeguards would be offered by the solution-provider. It is also important for the seller to show them what they stand to gain by taking the decision.
Let the customer know that there may be other solutions in the market, but since they have already seen enough and analysed each option it is time to move on – delay can only increase worry and loss that comes from running with a suboptimal solution.
3. Use language & tone that is assertive
While you show the client the benefits of buying it is also important to emphasis the negative impact of delays. The seller cannot be half-hearted here. A strong stand has to be taken to show that the client’s indecisiveness is stopping them from using something better.
But let me emphasis here that there is no room for condescension or ridicule or pushiness – and don’t ever sound desperate. Such attitudes can only annoy the customer or make them suspect your intention. A balance is needed to understand when to push ahead and when to slowdown to make the buyer comfortable. Also keep the language positive and be firm with what you suggest – no room for iffiness.
4. Build buyer confidence
Like I said earlier the buyers are worried about the consequence of their decisions and hence it is necessary for the seller to make them feel good about it and also show them that help is available at every step of the way before and after the decision.
When the decision is made, congratulate them for doing so and continue building confidence with appropriate actions and words during the Close and the After-sale steps.
A smart Sales Professional stays with the customer during this process and never permits doubts to creep in.
It is said that a good sale is one in which the customer ask for the solution rather than the sales person pushing him or her to take it. Victory for the Sales Pro is the knowledge that a series of smart actions and words used by her or him caused that.
But if that does not happen ask for it – you never become a good salesperson without making a sale. You need to feel good about asking for business.
If you sense that the customer is ready to buy, go for it … Close that deal!