Top 10 Mistakes Salespeople Make – #4 Mugging the Buyer

#4 Mugging the Buyer

Mugger textSo when is the right time to close a sale? “Close early and as often as you can”, remember that little gem from sales class circa 1970. Things have moved on and the old fashioned closing techniques don’t work any more.

In today’s relationship and trust driven sales environment if you use a hard close you may as well have pulled out a gun and mugged the buyer for his wallet for all the long term value you will get from that relationship?

Everyone hates sales people! Admit it, when they call your home you can’t wait to hang up the phone, when they approach you in a store you insist you are “just looking” even though you need advice. That is why I train people to be Client Engagement Specialists it’s still sales but buyers WANT to do business with them.

The right time to close is when you have eliminated all the danger in doing business with you. It’s not when you have finished listing the features and turning them into benefits or when the buyer has asked five questions or when you have managed to get him saying yes to a bunch of dumb questions. It is when you have established enough trust for him not to perceive any danger in buying from you.

The Sales process THEN and NOW:
1. Then – In the past the process was different you called enough people to get a set number of meetings. Now – Cold calling is declining in effectiveness (it doesn’t work anymore). If you used to make 10 calls to get a meeting I bet its now 20-30. Training and recruitment sales (sold in most cases sold by cold calling) are suffering the worst with some companies laying off 20-30% of the sales staff.

2. Then – You turned up five minutes early to see if there was a brochure in reception you could have a quick look at (if you were really good you got the receptionist to tell you something interesting). Now- There is so much information about companies and on individuals on the internet, on Linked-in and Facebook etc, buyers will expect you to have done your homework and already be an expert on the company and its marketplace.

3. Then – You asked a few stock relationship building questions and launched into the presentation. Now – You need a relationship before you get the meeting, face time networking, online contact, referrals and recommendations are key and if you are old style they are hard to get.

4. Then – You present the features and benefits. Now – The buyers should be able to get all the information they want on features and benefits from your website and won’t be impressed that your machine has a red button or that you insist on presenting twenty minutes of meaningless drivel.

5. Then – You get them saying yes, mirror their body language, and destroy those objections. Now – Manipulation isn’t seen as a great way to get people to like you and start a relationship. Everyone knows these techniques and they are as obvious as a mugging and far more likely to kill the trust and kill the sale.

6. Then – Close with action questions like “When would you want me to deliver?” or “Would prefer that in black or red?” Now – Because of the new social realities of business you are not closing a transaction but opening a business relationship. The only close that still works most of the time is to “agree the next steps” and the buyer is as likely to ask for that as you are (they ask, you suggest, there is your close).

The social dynamics of business have changed yet many people are still refusing to change the way they sell. It’s a bit like trying to watch Digital TV with an analogue only set, currently you can still get a limited set of channels but soon the signal will be switched off and your TV will be redundant. Change and change now or you too will be redundant soon

No mater how good your pitch, if you haven’t established trust you haven’t removed the danger of buying from you.

The problem is that generating trust often can’t be done in the sales meeting as two thirds of trust is not directly related to the meeting.
• What people say about your company
• Your website saying the same thing as you do in the sale meeting
• Your Facebook not being about getting drunk and partying (for the younger guys and girls)
• Having more than two connections and no recommendations on Linked-in
• Doing your homework on the company and the buyer
• Making sure your blog doesn’t have spelling mistakes and grammatical errors (err no scratch that one!)
• And finally what clients say about you in their testimonials and were you referred or do you still need to cold call people?

Your personal brand, your company’s reputation, your professionalism and your genuine interest in helping the other person are what close the sale nowadays NOT an old style closing technique.

So stop mugging the buyer and start being the sort of person people want to do business with.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp


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