November 14, 2011 by Bob Hill
Posted in: closing, economy, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, negotiating, Sales meeting ideas, training
Prospects are under the gun, and fear of making a bad decision could keep them from doing any new business. These four steps can turn that fear into opportunity and transform buyer resistance into a valuable selling tool:
- Show Empathy. Prospects rely on emotion above all else when it comes to making a buying decision. With that in mind, the two areas where salespeople can have the most impact are: a) empathizing with the mounting pressure prospects are under and b) focusing on problems that cause them the most pain (e.g., increased costs, decreased revenue, doing more with less, etc.).
- Gain one commitment at a time. Break the closing process down into smaller steps to relieve buyers’ fear of commitment and keep the sale moving forward. It also allows buyers to dip their toes in slowly, rather than diving in head-first. With each small step forward, buyers become more invested in the process. Eventually, the only decision left is whether to sign on the dotted line. Here are some common examples of small steps you can use to help move the sale along: a) Invite prospects to visit your corporate headquarters, so they can get a feel for your company’s size, scope, reputation and values, b) offer a no-risk trial of your products or services, c) volunteer to draw up preliminary paperwork, so prospects can see the terms of the agreement in writing, or 4) offer a short-term contract to make prospects feel less boxed in to something they can’t get out of.
- Establish clear consequences. A lot of buyer resistance boils down to a lack of urgency to buy now. The longer prospects can keep salespeople at bay, the more they can leverage the offer as a means of getting a better deal from their current supplier or convincing the salesperson to make more concessions. The best defense against that is to break down how much prospects are losing in costs and labor on a regular basis by staying with their current suppliers.
- Create a firm deadline. If it becomes clear prospects are stalling, call their bluff by making your best offer and telling them it comes off the table within a specified period of time. Once prospects know the clock is ticking, salespeople can get a much better sense of how serious they are about making a buying decision. At this point, you’ve exhausted every other possibility, so there’s really nothing left to lose. If prospects are interested, they’ll either accept or tell you what needs to change before they’ll agree to a sale. If they’re not interested, it lets salespeople off the hook, rather than continuing to go back and forth for months on end.