One thing I will never understand about sales professionals is how easy and fast they are willing to give up. How easy a lot of sales professionals give up on the sale when the customer gives them a negative response.
Recently I was shopping the competition for one of my jewelry business clients. I watched a very professional salesperson control a sale of a set of diamond earrings. He was doing everything right - asking questions, listening to the customer, having the customer put on the earrings, and selling benefits (not features) of the store.
After about 20 minutes or so, and a few tries at closing the sale, it all went down hill. Fast! The customer walked. The sale fell apart when the customer said, “I am not sure this is what I am looking for! I want to look around before making a decision.” There were lots of things the sales professional could have done to continue the sale, but he didn’t. He gave up!
He could have asked the customer:
- “What is it you are not sure of?”
- What benefits are you looking for that I have not mentioned?”
- “Perhaps if you tell me exactly what will help you decide I may be able to save you time and money.”
Or one of my favorites in the jewelry business, “Let me show you one more set before you leave.”
He could have been bold and asked, “Is it the price that is not working for you?” Although you have to be very careful and know your customer before you ask that question. You do not want to insult the customer. And remember, the one who mentions price first makes it important.
Once you discover the customers real objection you can do something about it to save your sale. You can use your company benefits and product benefits to close the sale.
If the customer is looking for a benefit you do not provide, and you are aggressive and find out what that benefit is, you can...
- Provide it. Many times in my businesses I discovered what benefits to create to gain more business by simply asking the customer what benefits they want.
- Ask them why they want that particular benefit. Many times after talking about it they will come to the realization they don’t really need it and you can close the sale. And once you have a better understanding of why they think the benefit you do not provide is important to them, you can show them a benefit you do offer that accomplishes what they are looking for.
Benefits trump price when you are aggressive and don’t give up. If low price was always the determining factor:
- Fast food businesses would only sell the 99¢ items - and would be out of business
- There would only be low end buffet restaurants
- There would be no one playing golf on the weekends when the price is double that of weekdays
- No one would buy ice-cream from ice-cream shops, they would only buy it at grocery stores
- Starbucks would have failed in the first month of business
- Write down 5 unique benefits a customer receives when doing business with you. A unique benefit is a benefit that your competition cannot or will not provide for the customer.
- Pick an item in your display cases and write down 3 benefits the item provides the customer.
- Now have every sales professional in your store do the exercises and see how close they come to you.
This is a great way to discover your benefits and the benefits of your products.
Always remember, customers shop price, but they buy value. Your unique benefits are the value they buy. All you have to do to sell your products and services at your price, when your price is fair, is show the customers the value (benefits) they will receive when doing business with you.
Don’t give up on a sale just because you run into a bit of negativity from the customer.
- Find out what the negative thing is.
- Use your benefits or create benefits to overcome the negative.