(Related: To Sell More, Think Differently)
They may not say anything, but don’t be fooled. You’re not home free, no matter how long you’ve been in the business or how good you are at sales. Customers look you over and check you out. Here’s what they’re thinking, “Is this someone I want to do business with?”
It’s a funny thing about customers. They not only know they need you, but they want to believe you’ll treat them right, that you’ll take care of them. So, if this is how you want to be viewed, get yourself prepared.
A good way to start is by answering the questions customers ask themselves about salespeople.
1. Will my salesperson take time to listen to what I’m saying?
If “I’m a good listener” is your answer, don’t be too sure. “The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply,” says Roy T. Bennett, the author of The Light in the Heart. If we are figuring out what we want to say next, we won’t get it.
2. Will my salesperson give me options?
Some in sales believe that choices confuse customers, so they stick with a single solution. Yet, options stimulate discussion and keep customers involved. Rather than letting customers slip away, talking about choices builds trust and certainty.
3. Will the salesperson ask me questions to make sure I understand what is being proposed?
Salespeople often assume that people know more about what they’re buying than they do. Customers can be too embarrassed to say, “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” No salesperson ever spoke too simply or too clearly.
4. Will the salesperson give me both the pros and cons?
The smart salesperson knows that there’s no perfect solution. There are always pluses and minuses. Everything has drawbacks and customers respond positively to the salesperson who is transparent when presenting. If they’re 80% or 90% OK, most customers will say they can live with that.
5. Will the salesperson push me to sign the order?
This is where things can get dicey — the tension between wanting to get the order and not wanting to pressure the customer. Too much either way can kill a sale. Summarizing what customers like about what they’re buying and why they see it as a good fit gives them “permission” to move forward.