Selling Like a Pro Part 2

April 7, 2003

Eight Sales Lessons (cont.)

By: Matt Michel

When I got home, I couldn’t wait to show my new purchase to my wife.
“They’re better than bifocals,” I raved, “and they’re light. I saved a lot of money compared to prescription glasses. Here, see this special micro-something-or-other cloth I got?”

It took me a day or so to figure out what really happened. I bought from a master salesperson. I bought something boring. I bought more than I really needed. I bought not one, but two accessories. And I felt good about it.

As the thought hit me, I counted my blessings that I’ve never encountered this lady on a new car lot. If I did, I would be in big trouble.
What did she do?

1. She asked questions up front. I willingly gave her information that made it easier for her to sell. She was able to classify me and construct a sales approach according to that classification.

2. She kept the initial price discussion on the differential between one option and another. When I bought the premium, I bought the whole enchilada. This is significant since the price I ultimately paid was a considerable multiple-not premium, but multiple over what I expected to pay. An hour earlier, I would have considered the final bill outrageous. Yet, when I bought I found it acceptable.

3. She got me involved with action, holding the glasses and demonstrating their superiority. She had me picturing myself owning the darn things.

4. She consistently gave me choices between something and something, not something and nothing. Give people choices where you come out ahead no matter what they choose.

5. She assumed the close. I don’t normally consider myself a sheep in a selling situation, but she led me to the sale like a good little sheep. If she hadn’t assumed the close, I doubt I would have purchased anything.

Many people need help taking the step they want. We end up being willingly led to take an action we desire, but that we wouldn’t take if left to our own devices. The key word is “desire.” I bought the glasses because I desired them. However, I needed the salesperson’s help to take the action I wanted to take.

Ironically, a lot of technicians and salespeople steer people away from the actions they want to take. Instead of assuming the sale, they assume the opposite. Even though it’s not stated, this is often counter to the true wishes of the customer.

When a tech or salesperson is belly-to-belly with the customer, it’s because the customer has a need or want. Thus, you should assume the customer wants the solution. If the customer doesn’t want it, he or she will stop you. If they do not stop you, it’s because they really want the solution, even if they do not come out and say so.

6. Once she made the sale, she continued making smaller sales. The profit margins were probably higher on the micro-whatchamacallit than on the glasses. By adding the accessories, the entire transaction became far more profitable. She used the same sales techniques for the accessories, though it took far less effort. I was already putty by that time.

Sometimes accessories should be bundled into the package. Sometimes they should be sold separately. Bundle them when the customer has a somewhat realistic price expectation and the overall value package is increased from the bundle. Do not bundle them when the price of the core product is going to seem high to the customer without the accessories, or bundle them as a separate, premium offering.

Whether accessories are bundled or not, they should always be offered. Failing to offer them is ensuring money gets left on the table, maybe not every table, but some tables. This is why fast food restaurants train people to ask, “Would you like fries with that?” It boosts sales. They could boost them further by asking, “Would you like fries or onion rings with that?”

7. She included the store’s logo and website on the micro-cloth-thing. After I purchased I discovered that it’s printed on it. She didn’t give me a choice whether I wanted the logo or not. She simply included it. Now, whenever I use the micro-whatever-it-is to clean the glasses, the store’s name will be driven deeper into my subconscious.

8. She anticipated buyer’s remorse and made an argument against it. Comparing reading glasses to prescription glasses is comparing apples to oranges. That didn’t matter. She gave me an argument to use with myself when I realized paid far more than I expected. It worked too.

Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2002 Matt Michel

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