As a buyer, I personally hate to get influenced by somebody selling products or services to fulfill my latent or explicit needs. We all, in fact, are hard wired in a way where we hate getting influenced; we hate getting pushed to the wall; we literally hate somebody impressing upon us to buy a certain product or service.
On the other hand, we like people helping us to make decisions, without acting smarter than we are; fanning our self pride, making us feel important. The customers are no different. The biggest sales truth – selling is most ineffective when it is selling per se; when its priorities are misaligned to that of the customers’. The underline fact – Customers hate being sold to, but never mind getting expert advice from someone genuinely trying to help them.
So, in plain and straightforward words; don’t sell, help your customers.
The true senses of selling is to win over the customers, build relationships, and present the whole package on offer to enable them to make decisions.
Remember, the package includes you as the most critical part which enables customers to look to other offerings.
A lot has been written on the steps and processes of selling. It has transformed into science with hypothesis, theories and logical steps. I strongly advocate this approach, as this has been developed after years of practice, studies and observations; taking into account the behavioral aspects of human beings.
Still, the selling sequence from prospecting to all through closing falter most on presentation, right at the big-show-moment for you. The closing never comes. The customers suddenly switches off and become oblivious from pitch and presence. More than 80% of calls break on this point and never go ahead.
The reason; there’s quite a chance that you might have put the cart before the horse. You closed the call before it started.
In his bestseller “What clients love”, Harry Beckwith presented the four steps of selling. These steps are quite logical and help building the trust and confidence steadily. Think for a moment, how many sales persons you see practicing steps in reverse order; chances are – many.
First impression may not be the last impression, but certainly the lasting impression. You are your organization personified in front of your customer. You are the extension of brands that your organization is building over the years. You have many make or break moments while you interact with your customer.
Advance in a professional manner – dress succinctly for the meeting, present your business card, communicate in clear and concise manner, explain your objective, listen to customer. This is the ice breaking session where the things will move on if you are able to make lasting impression, if you are successfully able to sell yourself.
Once you are able impressed upon, you’ll be in a better position to drive through your point. You already have made an image of your organization which, for the customer is, as professional and humble as you. Strengthen this belief by highlighting the unique capabilities of your organization; how it can be of help to customer in his objectives.
Remember, the only thing matters is what your organization can do for the customer. He is not interested in knowing the grandiose achievements and plans unless there is something in it for him.
Product or service you offer
Once you sold the core ideology of yourself and your organization, it’s the time to dig deeper and come down to product and service you offer. The positive halo created in above two steps will keep the customer interested in product you offer; just because you are fairly successful in inciting interest and respect in yourself and in organization you are representing.
I reiterate, explain the benefits; tell your customer in what way your product is making his life easier. Don’t piggyback on competitors’ weakness; don’t malign your competitors in front of customers. It will easily be seen through.
This must be the last thing to surface in your interaction. Hold the temptation to discuss price unless it becomes extremely urgent to keep the interaction going. Keep it to the last as much as possible.
The mix of your irresistible persona, impeccable presentation of your organization, and unique positioning of your products to help the customer, enhances the probability of customer being considerate on your pricing. It certainly doesn’t guarantee the sale, but greatly increases the possibility of it. It reduces the selling cycle by substantial hours and days.
You can see many salespersons making the mess out of the call by solely emphasizing and harping on price, trying to push their product down to the throat of the customer. This has never worked and never will.
The inherent human psyche is same for all of us. Like every human, customers want to buy from someone whom they trust. Build the trust through yourself, your organization, your products; and you will see the customers are willing to pay the price you deserve.