I’ll take it! Let’s do it! How do I get started? I’ll take that one. This sounds great! I want it. When can it be ready? Yes, Yes, Yes, YES!!!
Ah, the words of a buyer… music to a sales experts ears. If you’re in sales and you’ve been waiting to hear these words to get exited about having closed the sale than perhaps you’ve been missing the less obvious words of the buyer.
“I’m just here to get information”, “I didn’t bring my checkbook”, “Gosh that’s a lot of money”, “I’m shopping around”, “I have to talk to my… brother, sister, mother, wife, aunt Betty and Uncle Tom before I make a decision”, “Do you expect me to pay all that up front?” “I don’t have much time.”
I’ve let those phrases water down my enthusiasm in a consultation more than once and we all know what it feels like to hear the opposite of what we think are signs that the sale is moving towards a purchase. The truth is that how we interpret what the “shopper” says is up to us.
A healthy belief to adopt about every single consultation is that if they are there, “looking”, than they have a need and their need is important for them to fill. If they saw an infomercial about your product or service, or an ad, or a friend told them about it, than hope was sparked inside them that what the person in that ad, that commercial or their friend had, they could have too. By the time they walk into your door, they are hoping against hope that you will tell them with confidence that what they saw or heard, isn’t too good to be true. They are begging us prove to them how that product or service will meet their need. BUT most of them want you to show them how. How to what? How to buy.
That is a process and they expect it to be that. We should too. Throughout that process, we need to be tuned in to what phase of the buying process the potential client is in, so we can be what they want us to be, their solution, every step of the way.
When the client first comes in, they will often say, “I’m just here to get information”. They are saying, “Please, pretty please, be the professional I am hoping for. Please know what you’re talking about. Please sound educated. Please make this easy for me understand. Please assume I am intelligent. Please teach me about this option that I am hoping is what I am looking for.”
They are really saying the same things if they happen to mention that they are “shopping around”. Deep inside, they don’t want to shop around; they just want someone, an expert to give them what they need so they can solve their problem. They want you to believe that they are savvy, smart and that they’ll know the right solution when they find it.
When the client says, “I don’t have much time”, they are saying, “I don’t have much time for you to bore me. I don’t have time for you to manipulate me. I don’t have a whole lot of time for you to pressure me. I’m scared. Please be likable so I don’t want to run out of here. Make me laugh. Help me feel good while I’m here. Prove to me that I made the right decision by coming here.”
When the client says, “I didn’t bring my checkbook”. They are saying, “Please help me justify why I need to do this today. Give me three good reasons why now is the time. I want to make the right decision. Please make it easy and smart to buy. ” Sometimes, when someone says this, I laugh and say, “it’s alright, we also take first born.” They laugh and I continue to become their friendly expert. The client wants to believe it is smart to buy with you and to buy today… convincing them of how intelligent they are to do this, is our art and our responsibility.
How about the dreaded, “I have to talk to… someone before I make a decision. What they are truly saying is, “I don’t want to look foolish. I want to be convinced this is what anyone in my position would do. I want to be validated that meeting this need is o.k. I want to do what’s popular. Please be the expert.”
When the client says, “Gosh that’s a lot of money”. They are saying, nothing. The statement “WHOA that’s a lot of money is a rhetorical statement and it doesn’t reflect anything. If we scramble and start trying to justify the value to them at that late point in the consultation, than we missed something early on. From the moment we begin to talk anything about our company or our product, we should be excitedly sharing with the client how great a service we provide and how and why it’s the best. If we have done that, than in the end when they say, “Whoa, that’s a lot of money”, we should be able to sit quietly and smile and assume that what they mean is, “I guess buying the best isn’t free!”
Another ending buyer process statement is often, “Do I have to pay this all up front?” I LOVE this statement. When I hear it, I know the client has decided that what I have, is what will meet his/her need and they just want me to make it easy to pay for. This doesn’t mean I need to lower the price or make excuses for the price. It means they want me to help them figure out what the easiest way for them to pay for it is. What they are really saying is, “Do you finance? Should I use my credit card? Can I pay half cash and finance the rest? What kind of a deposit do I need to make?” I have never been in a sales position where the goal wasn’t for the client to pay in full at the time of sale. I also usually sell big ticket items or services, like weight loss programs, therapy sessions or surgery. My response to the client when they say “Do you expect me to pay for all this at once?” goes something like this, “Yes, this is typically paid on the front end to initiate the process”. Only if they make an issue of it do I say, “If you feel like you need to make payments, then you can certainly do that. How much of a deposit can you comfortably put down? Super! We also offer wonderful payment plans here… They make it very easy, it takes me about five minutes on the phone to take care of that for you. How does that sound? Well it almost always sounds great to them.