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The famous Zig Ziglar once wrote that there are five obstacles to gaining a sale, no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.
Many organisations at that time went about developing training courses to overcome ‘objections’ under each of the obstacles headings as they sought to find short cuts to closing a deal. In my own sales career I was even provided with an encapsulated A4 sheet of ‘smart’ responses to reel out anytime a customers indicated they had no need, no money, no hurry, no desire or no trust. Each time I look at that sheet I’m embarrassed by how manipulative and sometimes less than truthful some of the techniques were.
The five reasons you won’t win business still apply, how you deal with them in the 21st Century needs to be different.
A 21st Century response required
In the 21st Century when a seller pushes a product or service or uses any sales technique then todays buyers automatic response is to resist. Today’s buyer is just too sophisticated and aware to be taken in by persuasive sales or marketing techniques.
If you hear words that suggest that a prospect is giving you one or more of the obstacles to winning business it’s not smart words you need, it’s insightful questioning and intelligent listening that’s needed. Only when you fully understand the prospects real situation can you hope to respond in the most appropriate way.
Establishing a prospects needs and wants comes from a deep understanding of their world. Insightful questions and intelligent, mindful listening not only help the seller but they also help the potential buyer. Rather that pushing an idea (which often results in resistance) the best salespeople let prospects discover for themselves what their real needs and wants are.
That way the potential buyer is motivated to buy rather than persuaded to buy by the seller. A much better basis for a long-term profitable relationship.
If you have chosen your target prospects well then it is unlikely they can’t actually afford your product or service. It may be that they haven’t budgeted for a particular expense but that’s not the same thing as having ‘no’ money.
Understanding that people have ‘wants’ as well as ‘needs’ and building relationships with buyers motivated to buy from you who also have the authority to re-direct budgets is the key here.
The most embarrassing technique, and one of the least trusted in the 21st Century, that I was encouraged to employ in the past is the attempt to create some sort of false urgency. You’ve heard them all. The offer that only applies today, impending price increase, the product is in short supply etc.
Let’s get one thing straight – the buyer is always in charge of timing. The more sellers use techniques to hurry things along the less likely a buyer is to be motivated to buy. Sales people who use ‘hurry up’ techniques just look and sound desperate.
A seller with a full pipeline of well-chosen prospects never feels under pressure to ‘close’ business too soon. They understand early in the sales process the buyers’ decision-making process and their decision-making criteria and therefore how long it might take to arrive at a final decision. Of course the more a customer is motivated to buy the more likely they are to make a positive decision.
Desire is an emotional response closely linked to a customer’s motivations and ‘wants’. In terms of motivation human beings are more motivated to move away from undesirable outcomes (losing something) than move toward gaining something. All buyers want to reduce risk and ironically making a decision to move towards a particular solution, better supplier or even a better price can be seen as a risk.
The job of the seller is to get under the skin of the prospect, find out the issues that are under the iceberg and fully understand how to minimise the perceived risk of doing and maximise the benefits of business with you.
Winning business starts and ends with building trust. No trust = no sale.
Be congruent throughout the whole sales process, making sure that what your web site and marketing materials say is what customers actually experience. Do business with integrity, ethics and a conscience and trust will never be an issue.