We have been looking at the closing phase of the sales presentation and last time I touched briefly on objections.
Sales trainers in the past would spend a large proportion of their time teaching methods of overcoming objections. Indeed a common myth propagated by these trainers was that objections were in fact strong buying signals, however studies by Huthwaite have shown where there are a number of objections that closing ratios go down correspondingly.
Our goal as professionals is not to learn 100 objection handling techniques but rather to answer all questions in the buyers mind before we present our solutions.
To achieve this you need to follow a process with your questioning. It is not about firing 101 questions at the buyer. It is about having prepared questions that follow in logical sequence.
Once you have a process for your sales they cease to be a problem. If you don’t systemize your sales they will continue to frustrate and give you inconsistent results. Look at other business models – Ray Kroc of McDonalds is a great example – he developed processes for everything. In 1989 McDonalds were making 10 million dollars a day worldwide by asking one question – you guessed it – “would you like fries with that?”. This shows you the value of processes and also asking the right question. I will be looking at questions in my next article.
Very few salespeople follow a planned sales presentation and so very few are truly successful. It has been my experience that in today’s selling environment the most successful people I see coming through our programmes are the ones who have developed the key elements of the sales process into systems and preplan their interviews.
If we don’t have a system for uncovering buyer needs then we must rely on the old “show and tell” which invariably leads us to the most ineffective way of closing the sales known as manipulative closing and unfortunately these are still taught today.
Some examples (they even have names!)
Distraction Close – catch them in a weak moment Embarrassment Close – make not buying embarrassing Hurry Close – go fast to stop them thinking too much Now-or-never Close – to hurry things up Ultimatum Close – show negative consequences of not buying
And a real oldie of interest is the “Ben Franklin Close –
The Ben Franklin Close –
This “close” uses logic to get the closer’s point across to the customer. It is a good “close” to use on a customer who is a thinker or who is reserved and overly cautious when buying a product.
How the Ben Franklin Close is Used –
“Mr Customer, in America everybody has always regarded Ben Franklin as a pretty smart fellow. When Ben Franklin had a problem to solve or something important to figure out and make a decision on, he would take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle of it. On the left side of the paper he would write the word “Yes” and on the right half he would write the word “No”. In the “Yes” column Ben would make a list of all the positive and beneficial factors that would favour his decision to pursue or purchase something. And in the “No” column he would list all of the reasons for not doing or not buying something. When Ben was finished with this “Yes” and “No” process, he could simply look at the list and his decision would already be made for him. He would either have more yes’s or more no’s. It was that simple. Mr Customer, why don’t we try that and see what happens, it sure can’t hurt?”
Note: The closer should hand the customer a sheet of paper and a pen and have the customer fill out the “Yes” and “No” column. The closer should tactfully assist the customer on the “Yes” side by giving out suggestions, but on the “No’ side keep quiet and not say a thing. The “Yes” side will always, with the closer’s help, win. When this process is finished the closer should look the customer straight in the eye and ask him to give the product a try.)
It’s a fundamental truth in sales that pressure causes objections and ultimately rejection of your solution.
In today’s market buyers have seen it all and heard it all and are well aware of when salespeople are using manipulative sales techniques on them.
Why would you bother?
Quote of the Week –
I once heard a car salesman say, “I peddle metal.”
Well I disagree. To the extent I do “peddle” anything.
I sell helpfulness and solutions. That to me is the heart of the sales experience.
That’s what a good salesperson really does – identifies a need and fills it.
Marion Luna Brem
Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Moss and Associates International.