EPIC YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH SALES LEADERSHIP THE RAVIN PAPIAH WAY !
SHOW 7 – Sales Leadership Lessons 3
Welcome to the Seventh show on Epic Your Business through Sales Leadership ….the Ravin Papiah Way !
Customers who are not ready to decide on a purchase often come up with objections, statements about what is holding them back. You can overcome these objections if you are prepared to respond to them in a calm, rational way. Often all that customers need is more information to make them feel more confident about their purchase.
Segment 1 – Handling Objections
In these situations you need to be careful not to start an argument with a customer or belittle the customer’s concerns. In fact, you might decide to agree with a customer to a certain point but then show the customer a different way of thinking about the purchase. For example: “I know that buying new windows is a big investment, but let’s look at what you can expect to save in energy costs.”
Common Types of Objections
Here are some of the real reasons why people are unwilling to make a purchase:
• They don’t have the money.
• They can’t get financing.
• They can’t decide on their own.
• They think they can get a better deal from someone else.
• They’re not sure your product will meet their needs.
• They think your product is overpriced.
• They want to shop around.
• They have an established relationship with another vendor.
Before you can respond to a suggestion, you need to understand the real reasons behind it. You might discover, for example, that
• The customer can’t afford your product.
• The customer doesn’t like your product.
• The customer has strong personal ties to another vendor.
In these situations, it is probably not worth responding to a customer’s objections. Nothing you say will change the customer’s mind. If they cannot afford the product, then they cannot afford it. Short of you giving them the money, you cannot influence that and if you cannot extend the payment terms then there is nothing more to say. If they don’t like the product, you can offer alternatives but these may not have much relevance. If their objection is related to having strong personal ties to another vendor, then they may well already have made their mind up – but it is worth considering an approach based on the idea that a change is often a good idea. These responses are however at best speculative.
Here are some possible questions you might ask in response to customer objections:
• That’s more than I wanted to spend.
How much were you thinking of spending?
Do you know about the trade-off between price and reliability?
• I’m not ready to make a decision.
What additional information would be helpful to you?
• I’m not sure this product is right for us.
What features are you looking for?
• I’d like to shop around some more.
What other brands are you considering?
• I’m too busy to make a decision right now.
When can we get together when you have more time?
These questions might not help you close a sale, but they will at least keep the discussion going. It’s important not to push too hard with questions like these.
Segment 2 – Sealing the Deal
You have worked hard to get your foot in the door, tell customers what your product can do for them, and respond to any objections they might have. Now it’s time to seal the deal. Or is it? A good salesperson needs to know when it’s time to close and how to go about doing it.
Misidentifying the moment to close can carry numerous problems with it, not least the fact that a customer with extra thinking time can very easily suddenly decide that they are not so interested after all, and a customer who is pressed to complete the deal too early can be left with a negative impression of the salesperson – one which may be impossible to conquer.
Understanding When It’s Time to Close
Once you start picking up signals that it may be time to close, you can ask a “confirmation question” such as “How soon do you need this?” If the customer gives you a date, you can proceed with the closing. If the customer still has objections or questions, you will have to handle those first.
This process of asking a confirmation question is sometimes called a “trial close.”
The benefit of a confirmation question is that it is something of a “closed question”. That is to say that it does not allow for the possibility that someone will come back and say “actually, I don’t think I want it”. If the customer is minded to buy the product, then they will already have been eased along the path to purchasing it by a simple question.
Powerful Closing Techniques
A closing question should give customers alternatives other than yes or no. This approach effectively closes the deal but makes the customer feel that they are in charge.
Some sample alternatives:
• Delivery dates
For example, from the above list of alternatives you can craft a question that does not have a “yes” or “no” answer, allowing the customer to feel that they are in the driving seat while edging them towards deciding what you want them to decide.
Things to Remember
Most people have had a buying experience that they felt good about. They were happy with the product and the terms of the deal. They may have felt so good about the experience that they told their friends about it and patronized the business again.
Often this kind of good feeling is a result of being treated with warmth and respect by salespeople — before, during, and after the closing. Remember that the impression you make in the closing is the one that will stay with the customer. Try to make the experience as positive as possible. The way that you treat a customer will have a real impact.
This can be very straightforward and simple, and just requires you to be polite and friendly. You should always ask what more you can do for the customer, whether it be something like getting them an earlier delivery than expected, helping them out to their car with the item or just asking them how you can help further.
Segment 3 – Following Up
The closing is not the final stage of a sale. The final stage is following up, which is actually a process that may continue indefinitely. This stage may have two valuable outcomes: referrals and future sales.
The nature of a follow-up to a sale will depend on how the sale was carried out. If you sell via mail, then the delivery should be accompanied with a compliments slip thanking the customer for their custom and making clear your hope that you can do more business in the future. If you sell in person, then it can be very beneficial to follow up with a call a few days later asking how they have found the item.
Thank You Notes
Thank you notes are a sign that you are interested in building a long-term relationship with a client. They show clients that you value their business and that your interest in them did not end when you closed the sale. We hear very often in this day and age of a lack of politeness and many people decry the cursory way that transactions are carried out. Although almost all companies make a great play of offering “excellent customer service”, there is a world of difference between saying that you offer something and offering it every time.
The effect of a “thank-you note” is to make a customer feel that they have been more than just a number. They will read a thank you note and feel positive about their purchase. It has been proven time and again that we as humans have what people call “sense memory”, where we associate a certain feeling with a certain occasion, incident, or place. If, for example, a certain song was playing at a certain time in our lives, we will always associate that song with that occasion and how we felt at the time.
Resolving Customer Service Issues
Providing excellent customer service after a sale is essential to maintaining strong relationships with customers. Starting at the closing, tell customers that they should feel free to call you any time to discuss any problems or questions related to your products.
If a customer has a problem with a product purchased from you, try to see this situation as an opportunity. If you can demonstrate to customers that you really are committed to helping with their problems, they will think more highly of you, your company, and your commitment to customer service.
Staying in Touch
Here are some occasions that might prompt you to get in touch with established customers:
• The anniversary of a sale
• A workshop offered by your company that the customer might find worthwhile
• The customer’s birthday (an especially good idea if you sell life insurance)
• A new product offering
• A sale or special offer
• An upgrade to the product you sold
These occasions can all be marked quite effectively on a computer-based calendar and reminders can be sent to you via e-mail. This will allow you to then contact the customer and ask them a few questions in regards to how the product is working for them and so forth.
Showing that you remember them even after a year, or that you recognize the proximity of a special date for them, demonstrates a personal touch in how you deal with customers, a touch which will mean a lot to them.
The most effective way to stay in touch with a customer is to retain certain information on them which can then be sent through the post or e-mail to alert them of another potential purchase they could make.
Segment 4 – Setting Goals
If you want to accomplish anything important in life, you need to have goals. Goals give you something to shoot for. They keep you focused and motivated. They let you know when to celebrate and when to start shooting for something higher.
Goals are a part of all human endeavor – both in the workplace and in life in general. We measure ourselves by how we do in relation to the goals we have set ourselves and those we have set for us by management. By achieving a goal consistently we can benefit in a number of ways – we will gain recognition, potentially advancement within the company, and frequently will benefit from financial incentives.
The Importance of Sales Goals
Getting things done begins with setting goals.
• Goals provide direction. They help everyone in an organization focus on things that are truly important. Without goals, people are more likely to waste time on random activities that are not worthwhile.
• Goals should be ambitious but realistic. If you set goals too low, they will not inspire you to do your best. If you set them too high, you will probably not reach them, and you will end up just being discouraged.
• Goals clarify everyone’s role and responsibilities. Each member of a team has individual goals that contribute to the team’s overall goals. Setting individual goals avoids duplication of efforts and makes people feel personally responsible for their work.
• Goals can be motivational tools. It is difficult for people to feel inspired about their work if they feel they are just doing the same thing day in and day out, with no end in sight. Goals give people the feeling that their work is contributing to something larger, something worthwhile.
Setting SMART Goals
SMART goals are:
• Specific. Goals should be well-defined and clear to you and your coworkers.
• Measurable. Goals might include milestones that help you measure your progress and make sure you are on the right track. The goals themselves should also be measurable.
• Achievable. Goals should be based on a knowledgeable assessment of what is possible. Unattainable goals discourage rather than encourage.
• Relevant. Goals should reflect the basic values and mission of your organization, and they should be directly related to your vision of success.
• Timed. If you do not have a timetable for reaching goals, you will not feel a sense of urgency about them. It is natural for people to devote most of their effort on any given day to things that have due dates.
See you Next for session 4 in January 2021
Happy New Year 2021!
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