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It’s your move!

People are predictable!

Sales Professionals are predictable too – some of you may find this hard to believe, but I have solid proof that Salesmen are human … they are people too! People in the sales profession can at times rub people the wrong way with their persistence, call it predictability – some of them just don’t know when to stop; and I better stop before my joke is stretched too far!

The focus of this post is going to be on the other party … the Customer. While Sales Professionals quite often succeed in bringing out the animal in them, customers too can be classified as Homo sapiens. And that makes them predictable creatures!

Yes, we are predictable in character and behaviour – Don’t be surprised when your family, friends, co-workers and boss can read you like a book – your respond to situations and statements in preset ways; most people do!

So, can you use this knowledge to your advantage?

Try to gauge the Hot Buttons of your prospects. If you can assess early enough in the sales interaction what aspects of your product or service excites the buyer the most then the rest of the conversation can be steered in that direction. You are improving the chances of success substantially.

When you get good at this you can use this skill as an early warning mechanism too.

For example, when your prospect tells you “We are looking for a long term relationship with you and there are quite a few other orders in the pipeline” you can bet that he is softening you up for a reduction in price.

You have been speaking with another prospect for a while and he had been warming up to your pitch and then one day, without a warning, he drops you like a hot potato – calls are not responded to and when you do manage to get across the person acts busy or says that your case is in active consideration. One of two things has happened – either his boss has told him to consider a competitor’s offer instead of yours or they have found the competitor’s proposal more in line with their requirement.

If you don’t want to lose that order you better find another route into the positions of power because the current route is as good as closed. Don’t waste time banging your head on a wall that does not give.

You will also be faced with some special characters who sit stone-faced even when you tell them “this service is offered free to you for a year; the offer has been specially arranged for you.” – He is waiting to check whether you will crack at his (lack of) reaction and extend the free-offer for a 2-year period. These are the best negotiators, who grind people down with their inertness.

Watch out! Don’t walk into the trap. Leave the proposal with him saying – “I am sure you will see the merit in our offer when you have gone through the details. Do call when you are ready.” Leave him alone to think over it and take a decision. The longer you stay there, the more benefits he is going to squeeze out of you. Either be prepared to handle his silence or extract a reaction from him through smart questioning. Don’t ever get drawn into the abyss of silence.

People in the sales profession are lucky because they get the opportunity to meet all kinds of people; the faster you learn to respond to them the better your chance of success.

Wise-up to the Sales Chess game – predict your prospect’s next move, and Win!

  1. April 5, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Nicely said.You are playing the same tricks na..? 😛

    • JayadevM
      April 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      Ha! Ha! Caught me! 🙂

  2. debajyoti
    April 5, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    that was a delightful read!! an unfamiliar territory for me but thorough enjoyed it, primarily because of your brilliant narration.

    • April 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Hi Debajyoti,

      Glad that you cared enough to read the article and thank you for the kind words.

  3. Jamy
    April 6, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Just pure coincidence that I was negotiating a room rate with a potential customer who used to be a regular in my previous hotel ‘Jamy, you know I would be a regular and people would follow me, you know that”! Chuckled to myself and hit him with a price!! Good one again Jay, something i can relate to at work almost daily!!

    • JayadevM
      April 6, 2012 at 8:15 am

      Don’t we see them all the time, Jamy? He would have used the same line in a dozen places.

      As a Seller you sometimes wish you could do a stealth operation on a client and show him the game he is playing! 🙂

      Good example though. Thanks for reading

  4. Sajan
    April 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Great one Jay! Also worth considering this: a friend during my insurance days approached a customer who evidently had the strategies he picked up form a sales training fresh in his mind – when my friend asked, “so would you like to pay by cash or cheque” (the contained choice close) – the prospect began to laugh ..and he said, “you shouldn’t go for the kill that fast” – funny isn’t it?

    • JayadevM
      April 6, 2012 at 10:36 am

      Yes! This Salesguy went for the kill seeing a shadow and he missed by a country mile.It was snub.

      We should never underestimate the customer even while we try to predict his next move.

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