Are you capable of making one single positive change to your selling behavior?
When you last went shopping for a big-ticket item, were you a bit nervous, did you have any concerns? Probably so. We usually worry, at least a little bit, that we might make a buying mistake. Am I getting the best price? Are they taking me to the cleaners? Will my friends tell me I could have gotten a better deal?
Fear may be the most powerful motivator affecting your buyers’ decisions. However, in their effort to maintain an image of power and control, buyers will be reluctant to share their true anxieties and concerns with you. You’ll increase your sales production when you help buyers discover and overcome their fears, show that you are sensitive to those issues, and then lead those buyers to the conclusion that your product will replace their fear with peace of mind.
Remember that prospects buy for their reasons, not yours, and no matter how trivial you may see their fears, they are very real to them. Here are some fears that can haunt your prospects as they go through the buying process.
Fear of the unknown. People sometimes don’t like what they have, but they know what they have. Many prefer the security of a painful status quo over the risk of an unknown future. In this case you need to question the prospect as to the impact of sticking with the current situation. If you can get him to state in his own words the negative effect of not making a change, then he might begin to work through his fear of the unknown.
Fear of regret. When you drive that brand new car off the lot you are exhilarated and can’t wait to show it to your friends. A day later, you suddenly have a sick feeling in your stomach as you hear a voice saying, “You fool, you just incurred a four hundred-dollar monthly payment for something you didn’t really need, better take it back.”
To prevent buyer’s remorse, deal with it at the time of the sale. After you’ve completed the paperwork, have one more conversation with your new customer. “George, you’ve just made a big decision and a big purchase. I want to make sure you’re not having any doubts about the decision you made here today. Can you tell me why you decided to move ahead with this purchase?” This conversation takes guts, but you’ll be amazed at how people will affirm themselves and their decisions.
Fear of losing self-esteem. Everybody wants to feel OK about themselves. Setting forth this premise reminds me of an event that occurred 15 years ago: A friend laughing at me when I told him how much I had paid for a new car and I quickly felt NOT OK about myself. It was hard to enjoy my car after that. Making a wrong decision – real or perceived – can cause self-esteem to plummet.
Fear of relinquishing control. Buyers want to feel in control and maintain the upper hand in the sales process. They like calling the shots and establishing the agenda. They know they have the power to delay a purchase as long as they want. If you interfere with this control you will elevate their fear. One simple question, “Susan, what would you like to accomplish in our meeting today?” will go a long way toward helping your prospect feel in control right from the start.
Prospects become your customers when they believe that you are the “doctor” who can ease or eliminate their problems and fears. People feel manipulated when they’re “sold” something. When it’s their choice, buyers remain committed to a purchase decision.
When they conclude that they want to buy because of how they answered your questions, buyers feel ownership of their decisions and are less likely to feel foolish or back away from them later.
Don’t let a sales call be about you, your product, or your service. Make sure it is about your prospect and solving his problems. Don’t be afraid to ask prospects about their fears: “George, one of my concerns is that I might get ahead of you in this process and cause you to feel pressured. If you’re feeling any pressure, please let me know immediately”
Deal with your prospect’s fears, honestly and openly in a sales call and you will eliminate many of the stalls, objections, and put-offs that can later halt a sale.
Brad McDonald is an Operations Director at Sandler Training. He is responsible for domestic franchisee support and growth. This includes all facets of on-boarding, training and coaching of trainers within the network. He also provides on-site training to Sandler Global clients.
Prior to working for Sandler Systems, Brad was a Sandler Franchise owner. He also spent twenty-eight years in the US Navy, principally as a submarine officer.