One of the only things worse than no sale is when, after an agreement, the buyer changes his mind. I had two buying experiences recently, one positive and one negative, that pointed up how to avoid getting into that position. The first happened on our holiday trip to the Montreal Jazz Festival last week.
“Are You Sure?”
We were shopping for a good shirt for my husband. The salesman, all eighteen years old of him, showed us several options. After looking at fit, style, color and price, we decided on an attractive small blue print shirt. Deal done – or so we thought. Rather than ring up our purchase, this kid said, “Are you sure? Are you sure you want this one? You might like this one better (he showed another print).” “No,” we said. “We like the one we chose.” He continued, “I can show you others.” Again, we said, “No, we really like this print. It is smart looking and fits really well.” “Okay,” he said, “If you are really sure, then let’s ring it up!”
“If You Sign Today, You Will Save 15%”
This experience was such a contrast to the one we had with a fellow who tried to sell us gutter helmets for the gutters on our house. We called him to learn about gutter helmets and to get an estimate on the cost. He was completely professional: he walked us through the product, the options, showed us samples, explained the advantages of his system over the competition’s, periodically asked if we had any questions and when we said we could see the advantages of his product, he brought out a contract, and offered us the discount if we signed today. He forgot that we had originally said we wanted to learn about the product and get an estimate. We never said we were ready to buy. However, we were so swept along in his presentation, we signed. He thanked us and left.
And then buyer’s remorse set it. We thought about it, we read the fine print, and realized we didn’t really want to make the investment now. So, we called and cancelled the contract.
What the 18 Year Old Can Teach the Pro
It is easy to impress people with the bells and whistles of a product or service, but unless buyers really want what we sell and want it NOW, a sale is unlikely.
By asking us if we were sure we wanted that shirt at that moment, the young man made us sell ourselves on why we wanted it. In the case of the gutter helmet sales person, although we acknowledged the benefits of his product, by failing to ask if we were sure we wanted the gutter helmets now, he ultimately lost our business.
Sometimes, too much experience can put us on automatic pilot and we forget to see the selling experience from the buyer’s point of view.
Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!
I think most people are fans of consummate sales person Richard Branson, CEO, Virgin Companies. He is such an unusual combination of innovation, intelligence, humor, and humility. His newsletter is always a good read: https://www.virgin.com/newsletter
I highly recommend.
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