Does this ring any bells?
You’ve agreed to the appointment. A sales person is coming to call. You really are interested to hear what this person has to say. You listen to the pitch, ask some questions, and even get some good answers. At some point, however, you decide that the time isn’t right for you to buy. Maybe the price is higher than you think it should be, or maybe the product doesn’t quite meet your needs the way you thought it would. What should happen next? The best sales people will ask some more questions and modify the offer. At some point, though, they will graciously thank you for your time and leave.
That’s the way things are supposed to work right?
What can happen? Often, the sales person won’t take “no” for an answer. That type of person digs in, modifies the deal, makes additional suggestions, you say no and they modify the deal some more, makes other suggestions. Some sales people will go so far as to tell you what their commission is and that they’ll waive it for the first year or they will lose out on a bonus if you don’t say yes. The more you tell them “no” the more they persist in trying to persuade you by making more and more concessions.
While all this is going on, what is happening to your estimation of the person who is making the pitch? Does he or she have your full admiration because of their skill in creating more and more flexible offers? Hardly. You are thinking, instead, that this person must be really desperate to make a sale.
What happens when you encounter a desperate sales person?
Are you more likely or less likely to buy? You could drive them down to a silly price and pick up a bargain. Most people will back away from the deal. They don’t want to buy from someone who is desperate. Trust and credibility is shot to pieces. Instead, they want to buy from someone who is competent and is confident and somehow desperation and confidence don’t quite go together.
When you encounter desperation, you begin to sense a lack of success. If that person has been unable to sell to others, then there must be something wrong with the product, the technical support, or the company.
If this is your response to desperate sales people, then imagine how your prospects must feel when you’re afraid to walk away from a deal…
How do you deal with this? Clearly, you have to make sales.
The key is to recognize that you don’t have to sell to everyone. In other words, not everyone you contact needs to buy from you. Statistically you will talk to more people who are not looking for your type of product or service than who are. Even if your business depends on a rapid turnover of the goods you sell, you don’t have to pressure anyone into buying. In fact, you’ll make things much worse if you try to.
So you need to have a strategy in your pocket that is all ready to go; that you’re not trying to create on the fly. There are really only two parts to it.
Give me your best offer
The first one is to know in advance what you’re willing to concede. That’s another way of saying that you have to decide before you get in front of your prospect what your best deal is, before the pressure of the conversation gets the better of you. Decide based on commercial sense, remember turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cash in the bank is king.
Your best alternative to an agreement
If you cannot close a deal at that stage you can immediately implement the second part of your pre-planned strategy – What could you ask for instead of a sale as part of your walk away strategy? A referral? A chance to meet in the future? The opportunity for them to talk to a satisfied client? What would display to your prospect that you value what you do too highly to give it away; that you are not desperate for the business; that you are both confident and competent?
In the first scenario, you saw a sales person make a pitch and then stop trying to sell when he or she couldn’t persuade you to buy. That person knew in advance where the concession point was. In the second scenario, however, the sales person hadn’t thought through an alternative to “no sale”, and so he or she tried desperately to make the sale happen and ended up giving away the farm rather than leave empty-handed.
Learn the lesson that the desperate sales person just taught you.
Always prepare something to give away while being firm on pre-set limits and be willing to walk away if you need to, with or without a best alternative to a deal. Your prospects will have more respect for you if you do, and they’ll be more likely to listen to you in the future.
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