Yesterday we summarized the buying process as; Coming into focus, Gathering information, Shopping, Rationalizing their choice, and Defending their purchase. We talked about the shopping process.....the customer feeling that they have "shopped around".
Today we are going to talk about rationalizing their choice, and defending their purchase. This is where most salespeople kill sales.
Usually, during the process of showing two alternative buying choices (either one being a great choice)...the prospect will begin showing a preference for one of the choices. They may do it by asking more questions about one option...or asking questions like "So the only difference between these is...?" which indicates they are leaning toward the slightly cheaper choice.
Here are things you may hear that show you which way they are leaning;
"So the only difference is.....?" (cheaper choice)
(to the spouse), "Do you think we really need the (more expensive option)?"
"Well,we're going to have this for a long time, so we may as well...(get the better option)".
They may even be more subtle like "Well, my Birthday is coming up soon" (getting the more expensive option), or "How often would we use the (one feature the better offer has)?"
If you are talking to a couple, they will talk to each other, giving the other one subtle clues as to which way they are leaning. Just listen. If they are alone, just listen to the questions they ask you. After one or two questions on their part, you should know which way they are leaning....now....
Whichever way they are leaning...start supporting that idea. If they are slightly leaning to the more expensive option, talk about how long they will have it and minimize the cost difference..."One thing I hear often is that our customers are going to own this for 20 years. Over a 20 year period, the $100 difference in price is minimal. What is your thinking on that?" You want to listen to what they say next, and follow their lead.
If they are leaning toward the less expensive model/option, I may say "This really is one of our most popular models". I want them to feel comfortable buying the less expensive choice...again, support whatever way they are leaning.
Occasionally, you'll have some one just sitting there..listening to you...and not volunteering what they think. This doesn't happen often, but you should know what to do. You just ask a direct question like "Which one are you leaning toward?". The important thing here is to not sound biased until they give you a direction to go. You don't want to push them one way, when they want to go the other way. That's how you kill a sale.
What if they hesitate....maybe mumble "I don't know" or show no preference?
I love saying these..
"Would you like to know what most people do?" or "Would you like to know which is more popular?"
And I tell them that the less expensive model(choice) is the more popular option. Why? The odds are very strong that they are thinking of the cheaper price.
But what if they say they still want to think about which way to go?
Remember when I said (in the other post) that these choices should be very similar...with very similar prices? (Like $529 VS $499). I may give a thoughtful look, wait a few seconds (mulling around an idea) and then say "OK, May I make a recommendation? I have more of the higher priced model in stock right now. I'll give the the higher priced option for the lower price. Fair enough?"
You need to make the prices close enough so you can do that without hurting yourself..
Most will say "Yes"...or look at the spouse/partner and ask "What do you think?". "If they ask "What do you think?"...shut up and the the other one talk. They will almost always do what they think the other one wants to do. Here is where they point to an option and say "Let's do that".
Once they chose an option, I look at the spouse (if there is one) and ask "Is that OK with you too?". I just want them to hear each other say that they are wanting to buy.
. It's much...much easier to support a decision someone else has made...than to make the decision yourself.
Does this always work? Not at all. Some people still walk away, buy somewhere else, or decide to buy nothing at all. But these ideas dramatically increase your chance of a sale today. This gives me the best chance of them following my recommendation...without using a gun.
Now, they have bought. The next thing they will do is defend their purchase. Here is another time salespeople kill sales. If you ever get a cancellation, it's probably because you screwed up this step.
Talk about what they bought, or the service they bought. Let them talk about what they are going to do first, when they use it. Let them talk about what they loved the most....and here is the key, describe in detail how everything works, what they can expect (always be conservative in estimates) and tell them again what they are getting or what you are delivering.
I want to cement the sale in so it's unmovable...I want the sale to be bulletproof. And you do that by taking the time to explain everything. Selling and explaining are two different things. People forget. They remember things that weren't promised. They can get confused. And a confused person will cancel. Even if you think they should understand everything you said...explain it after they buy. With me, this may take 10 minutes.
Why is this "defend their purchase" part important, beyond the sale? After you leave (or they leave) they are going to talk to others about their purchase. Believe it. They are going to brag about the deal they got, and about the great product/service they got.
What if a friend says "I can get if for half price on E-bay"? What if their business friend says "I know a guy that can do the same work for less, and faster"?
Well, you aren't going to be there to defend the purchase. So you have to build a shield around the customer so they will still be happy with their decision, even after they get a couple of arrows in their shield. So you need to leave them with one thought....they are certain they made the right choice. And you create that certainty, nobody else.
I hope this helps someone.
You may have noticed that this post sounded a lot like it was about closing the sale. This is really the step just before closing, and the step just after closing. What's missing is "answering objections". But if you follow the steps here, you'll have far fewer objections to answer.
When you get objections, it's usually because of two reasons;
1) You haven't matched the product/offer to them perfectly. or..
2) You haven't built their desire to buy enough to eliminate hesitancy.
Much of answering objections is either to give them time to accept the idea of buying...or them not wanting to buy, but afraid to break rapport with you.