This is an outstanding post that I came across from Dirk Zeller. He nails the consumer buying habits/process squarely on the head.
To be an effective salesperson, you have to understand people. You have to understand that people buy and sell for a set of reasons. They also make decisions on whom they do that with based on their reasons, not ours. Being able to read people and ask the right questions is essential to success. Let me share the rules of reading people.
- People are egocentric: This means they are self-focused. They are clearly fixated on what’s in it for them. If we don’t know what they want and link that with the benefits of doing business with us, we will stumble in sales. We all look at the world based on how a given situation or opportunity relates to us personally. When we fail to connect the dots personally with our customers, we are rendered less effective.
- People make decisions emotionally: Most of us decide quickly. Some of us gather our facts and information previous to making a decision. Once we gather the necessary data, we move to the decision. Even the most analytical person will make decisions based on a feeling, need, or emotion. These people’s sales cycles are longer than others. Your job is to identify the longer sales cycles and be there at the appropriate time. We must also send all the data beforehand to be digested by the customer before they meet with us.
- People will justify their decisions with reasons: As salespeople, we have to give the prospect sufficient reason to do business with us. This frees them to move forward in the purchase based on the emotional impulse they feel. They want to move forward but are looking for a little security to justify their decision. We must provide a compelling reason for their movement forward now!
- People delay making decisions: The longer the customer postpones making the decision, the lower probability the decision will ever be made. As salespeople, our objective is to provide the customer with enough reasons to get them to attach benefit to our service. Our other objective is to encourage them and direct them to act on it now once they have the information. The sooner we can provoke a decision by the customer, the higher the probability that it will be in our favor. The longer the time between when you make your presentation and when the customer decides, the lower the probability of success. We must focus to shorten our sales cycles.
- People fear losing something: The fear of loss is one of the most powerful motivators for action. People will move more quickly to a decision if they stand to lose something than if they are positioned to gain something. As salespeople, we need to put our compelling reasons for action now in terms of potential losses to our clients. There are two types of fear of loss.
- Losing something you have
- Losing the chance to have something you want
Both of these are forefront in your customer’s thoughts.
To be effective in sales, we really need to master understanding people and what makes them tick. We have to use a full complement of techniques to help our prospects and clients make the right decisions for their success.