When you’re selling, the timing of when to close the deal can be everything.
And it’s your understanding of your customer’s emotional state that is going to tell you when that close should happen.
When you meet different customers, each will have their own emotional setting. So, when they come in to see you, or skype you, or speak with you on the phone, they are going to tell you a whole load of things that are really useful to you to help understand their state. Which means keeping your eyes and ears open and listening to what your customer has to say.
There are those who have already decided to buy. They know what they want to buy, and they know that you’ve got it at somewhere near the right price.
It sounds like it should be a cake-walk selling to someone who wants to buy, but in his book and DVD Set Persuasion Engineering (see reading list at end of this report), John La Valle talks about a really extreme example of a salesman who gets it all wrong, because he isn’t listening to what he’s being told or observing his customer’s state.
…he got a “bye” instead of a “buy”…
John describes walking into a showroom pumped up and ready to buy a specific product. Before going in, he had already decided what he wanted, and naturally assumed that it would just be a case of the salesman running along and getting it for him.
Bizarrely, instead of earning a fast buck, the salesman started to take him through all the alternative products to the one Johnwanted. Maybe the salesman was expecting John to be just like the cautious one who had been in before and felt it was his duty to set the customer’s mind at rest. Maybe the salesman needed to set his own mind at rest that John knew what he was buying.
Whatever the reasoning, the salesman’s technique certainly did not work for John. All Jogn wanted to do was buy what he had already decided he wanted to buy. He didn’t need to be persuaded out of it and back into it again. He just wanted what he wanted, which the salesman didn’t recognise at all. In the end the salesman lost the sale. From John he got a “bye” instead of a “buy”.
The example is extreme, but the point is well made. If you, as a salesman, are living in your own head to such an extent that you don’t really pay attention to your customer, then selling opportunities are really going to pass you by. So be ready to identify the state of “readiness” when it appears before you. It’s the “Yes” state that you will need to utilise to close the sale.
“…For others, still, loyalty counts…”
There are other states you are also going to meet on the way to the “Yes” state. For example, you might meet a customer who, although he wants to make a purchase, is also afraid of what that means to his bank balance. In this case, the thing that’s holding him back is fear.
For others, the thing that holds them back is doubt. They have a belief that an item around the corner is going to be so much more attractive than the item they’ve got in front of them right now, and they are wavering because of something that they have imagined might be elsewhere.
For others, still, loyalty counts.
A friend of mine was once selling clothing at a show and spent a half hour with a female client, answering her questions meticulously about a coat she was interested in. She appreciated the time he spent with her and they built a bond of respect through it. Meanwhile, her partner hovered around, and s the time came to close the sale, he jumped in and said: “They are selling these for cheaper down the way. We’ll go there.”
The woman looked at my friend with embarrassment, then turned to her husband:
“Can’t you see, he has been really helpful?”
The partner shrugged. “What can you do on price?” he asked the salesman, bluntly.
My friend answered by speaking to the woman he had built the rapport with directly: “If you think that the time I’ve spent with you has been valuable to you, that it has informed your choice and has made you sure that this is the right time to buy, now, I would say that your time spent with me is already money well spent.”
It was at that point that the woman’s partner seemed to relax, while her eyes lit up. She was going to buy that coat – and even better, her partner was happy about it, too. Sale made.
There are natural points in conversations with clients that are the “Yes” moments. It might be that you have dispelled doubts, that you have answered specific points, or that you have got the client to the place of believing that what they are buying is absolutely the best thing since sliced bread…
The thing is – as with John La Valle’s story in Persuasion Engineering – when that happens, NOTICE IT.
How? Well, that is the skill of sensory acuity mixed with rapport building.
It’s an immensely powerful combination!