No one can be forced to buy anything, at least not without being manipulative or physically forceful. A person has to want something to buy it. So the best way to be successful in business is to ask people what they want, and then give it to them. This is done by getting them involved with questions.
Think about how you would feel if you walked into a department store to buy a T.V, something small that you can set up in your garage to watch while you worked on some hobbies. You walk in and a salesman comes up to you and says, “May I help you?” If you are like most of us you immediately respond, “no thank you”. But, then stop him as he walks off and saw “oh, where are the TVs located?” Now, how would you feel if he said, “TVs. that my area I know all there is to know about every brand, just from looking at you I think a 52” HDTV would be good for you." I know what I'd do. I would find whatever excuse I could to get out of there and go somewhere else. Why? Because I'd feel like this person doesn’t really care about what I want, he only cares about selling me what he wants. This is the same on the phone or in person.
You, the entrepreneur or artist know what you have to offer. The objective is to find out what is a good fit for what the clients are doing. Questions, questions, and questions. Not just a barrage of questions thrown at a prospect for the sake of asking them, but a natural conversation that logically leads from one to the next. You are genuinely interested in finding out about them to know how you can fit it their life. When you ask a question let the prospects’ answer lead you to your next question. Do not take an automated approach of surveying. You ask them to get involved in a real conversation. The best way to be prepared is with a general idea of what the questions are that need to be asked. Remember in school when you had to write a paper, what was the format you had to follow: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?
This is the same when marketing. You are constructing a profile that is specific to whom you are talking. People would prefer to talk about themselves than listen to you talk. We are not “need based” selling. People do not need you, if they did, they would come to you, like a hospital. In a small town with only one hospital they don't need to market; everyone knows where you are ,and when in need, come to you. Don't get caught up in need-based selling. If you think you're providing a “need” ask yourself this; if I went out of business today would it cause a breakdown of life for my customers? We are “do based” marketing. This philosophical strategy I learned and adapted from Stephen Schiffman; Asking what people do, to help them do it better. Think of 15 “do” questions. E.g. Who do you use now? What made you choose that company? When did you start using them? Where do you do business at? Why do you do it that way? How long have you been in this industry?
Even with the best sales person using the most effective crafted script, with all the issues anticipated beforehand, People are still going to say “no”. There are two main reasons why a prospect would turn you done.
- One reason being; they are responding to you in kind. That is to say that what you have said or asked is exactly what they responded to with a “no”.
- Or the person has complete apathy for what is going on around them. Then they fall into the category that will not buy based on any logical rationale, regardless of what you do or did.
- For every “NO” look at it as one closer to your "Yes”
- If a prospect tells you why they can’t buy, you now know what you need to overcome in order to do business.
The 4 main objections (paraphrased from Cold Calling that really works by Stephan Schiffman)
- Stall: tries to sidestep your offer by not committing to a decision.
- Hidden objection: says something different then how they are acting.
- Hard objection: there is no reason to buy, because of lack of need or doesn’t fit, or is too expensive.
- Easy objection: show interest but offers a technicality that stands in the way.
- Reassurance request: asks to see more proof of credibility.
- Doubt and fear objection: unsure, unwilling to make a commitment.
- Ask questions that require a full sentence to respond to.
- Telling is not selling; ask people to be specific in how you can help them do something better.
- That price seems high.
- I don’t know how we would use this.
- We have always used (xyz) company.
Here is why. If a person is thinking out loud and you start to talk over their thoughts you have now added stress to the situation. They have to listen to you and think about what you say along with what they were currently thinking about. Now “not good” feelings will surface from information overload. So chances are they will want some time to think, because you didn’t allow them to do so at the time.
If the person is just making a statement, they are trying to get you to initiate the conversation, allowing them a way out of having to think about a decision. Now you are playing by their rules and you have been set up as a target, waiting to say what the prospect needs to hear to end the process. By not responding to statements you keep the control on your side. If the prospect has an issue they are going to have to come out and say it. Do not confuse this with the stage of your presentation that attempts to “out” all current issues, to better enable you to present solutions.
If a statement is made for the purpose of testing your company’s credibility, such as “that price seems high”, and you jump on the statement as it were an issue by going through some objection technique you probably have missed your prospect’s intent. They may just want to see if you'd offer a lower price or add the kitchen sink to your proposal. I never recommend dropping the price as a close technique! Remember interest is measured by commitment, when people buy it is done on very emotional, mostly personal basis but with the commitment of agreeing to pay what you offered. How could someone commit to buying and using a service if they feel like they are not getting what they bargained for. People aren't really buying a tangible product or service (even if that is what you're offering). Tony Robbins has taught that people buy “states”, meaning states of mind. How will what I do affect who I am. As you make your presentation, the prospect is painting a picture in their mind of what you're saying. You have stated a price and then built value up around it to the point of saying; “this is what you're getting for the price”. If you now change that price, you have taken away the picture the prospect had built. They are now unsure what the value is. They will be left wondering if there was even value there in the first place. You have just created “not good” feeling about the situation, thoughts of doubt, fear, and pressure will be created.
How can all of this be avoided? How can humans be better salesman? How can society learn to accept and appreciate salespeople? Start by having real selling conversations, in genuine business interest, trying to help the world by solving problems. This passion is the stuff great salesman are made of, and great companies are built by great salesman.