Customer Experience News & Trends

Why do customers really buy from salespeople?

Ask your salespeople to come up with reasons why their customers buy and they’ll probably come up with four common — and wrong — answers. Typically, salespeople respond with one or more of the following:

  • “We have the most advanced product on the market.”
  • “It was the best presentation I’ve ever made.”
  • “The competition couldn’t touch our service guarantee.”
  • “We just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Four wrong responses

The above are four “wrong” responses with one thing in common: They all focus on something that your salespeople did rather than responding to a customer’s need or want. That’s predictable.

Salespeople are used to thinking of themselves as initiators. They are supposed to be in charge of the sale, aggressively making things happen. They think of a sale as something that flows from them to their customers.

Not the way it happens

That’s not usually the way it happens. When it comes to selling value, it’s customer thinking that counts. It’s their reason for buying that actually makes things happen.

People decide to buy on the basis of expectation. They buy what they believe your product or service will do for them. Your salespeople have to demonstrate the excellence of their products or services.

Thoughts to share with your salespeople

No product is excellent in itself. It’s excellent only if it fulfills a customer need, and it does that only by satisfying a solution image. That’s why every successful value-added scenario is composed of two separate steps:

  1. You develop as clear a picture as possible of the customer solution image.
  2. You demonstrate how your product or service can provide something that fits that image.

There’s usually a logical sequence to the two steps. Not one customer in a hundred will agree to buy anything without first believing that it’s going to accomplish something for him or her.

When you can’t get commitment

There are times when, no matter how well you understand the customer’s expectations and your product provides solutions, he or she still refuses to make a buying decision.

There’s usually only one reason why prospects won’t make commitments under those conditions: They feel they’re not going to win with your solution.

You can have the best product or service, and it can be perfectly suited to the prospect’s needs. If he or she doesn’t perceive that the sale you’re trying to make is going to be a personal win, there’s little chance that the sale will close.

The prospect’s reluctance can be usually be translated into a few words: “I’m not winning with this solution.”

Spot the ‘losing’ feelings

The sooner you’re able to spot the “losing feelings, the sooner you’ll be able to move the selling process forward. That’s why the first practical step in getting commitment is digging for why the person feels that he or she is losing.

To achieve this, try to identify which results a prospect is looking for and then show how that result can bring a personal win.

Adapted from Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill, NYC) by Tom Reilly. Mr. Reilly is an author and sales trainer.

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