I have heard so many sales professionals over the years harp on “close the sale” and not to let the customer leave until you “close the sale!”
When I worked sales for an international Company in their New England division, I heard that expression over and over again.
There was one salesperson that was so anxious to “close the deal” that when a mother hesitated on making the purchase, he told her that she must not love her children.
She made the purchase, but she left in tears.
On paper his sales numbers looked pretty good. He thought he had figured it out. But what he was costing the company was the next sale and the lack of referrals because of his insistence in “don’t let them leave without buying.”
The benefits of listening to your customer
Because I’m a firm believer in the powers of the chameleon, I believed in taking my time, observing what’s REALLY going on, listening to the customer and then deciding what’s in their best interest and how that can coincide with selling them my product or service. There are several reasons why someone wants to make a purchase – it could be a need or a want and a conversation will reveal that important information to the salesperson.
The difference in using this tactic was that I had the highest “return” sales than any other salesperson in the New England division.
And the MOST repeat sales.
One of the greatest assets a salesperson can have is building a relationship with the customer. How many times have you been approached from a car dealership, a furniture salesperson, or as I once did – a mattress saleswoman and pressured to make a decision?
My husband and I were shopping for a new mattress and we went into the store to be greeted by the salesperson whose turn we were. We tried several mattresses but the ones we were interested in we weren’t sure would fit in the space we had. After a conversation, my husband and I decided we would go home and check and think about this very large purchase that we would be living with for the next 8+ years.
When I informed the saleswoman of our decision, her comment was, “What’s to think about,” (the don’t let a customer walk out the door). I realized that she cared more about the sale than she did my needs and I decided right then that I wouldn’t buy anything from her.
She lost my sale… and many other sales as I shared my story with.
How to improve the sales “dialogue”
If your potential customer has reservations, concerns, any other reason for not buying – at that moment – give them the opportunity to “hit the pause button.”
Perhaps here’s a better conversation to have with your customers:
“I can see that you have questions and concerns. Would you like to talk about them? I understand that you may have to think about the answers I’ve supplied. I’m here, here is my phone number. If you think about any other questions I’ll be happy to find the answers for you. I so appreciate your allowing me to work with you today.”
I had more people return to purchase because I allowed them the time to understand that the purchase was their idea and fulfilled their needs.
And so you can, too.
The current buyer has multiple ways to figure out which product or service they want to purchase, but sales/customer relations are still built on mutual trust and courtesy. And remember, other potential customers are hearing how you treat the person who didn’t buy and deciding if they want to work with you as well.
Because it’s never about first sale – it’s about the next one.
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