Are you or have you ever been a salesperson? In some cases, I imagine selling is a high speed, high pressure job. I have wondered how difficult it is to spend the entire day working a crowd to sell the latest “As Seen on TV” product.
My more common perception is that most sales jobs consist of hours of boring administrative activities, working the phones with only the occasional spurt of activity. Real Estate for example involves hours spent canvassing neighborhoods alone, keeping track of what is for sale, what is not and trying to find new listings. Have you ever wondered about car salesman? They say most cars sell on the weekends. If so, what do those people do the rest of the week? Insurance, furniture, and wholesale sales; why would we think these are any different?
In those precious moments when a customer is available there must be a rush of adrenaline with each chance to generate income. The salesman’s challenge is changing a customer that is looking into a customer that is buying.
The Road to the Sale – revised
Many companies have developed unique sales processes to achieve their goal. “The Road to the Sale” as it is known, begins with the “meet and greet.” Sandwiched in between are the steps to identify the customer’s needs and present the features and benefits of your product. Ultimately, if all goes well, the salesperson gets to “close” (sell the product) the customer.
For a few salespeople, they will turn this traditional approach on its head. With the “Fulfill Your Dreams” technique, the salesperson bypasses product presentations or a needs analysis. After a brief meet and greet the salesman tries to “close” the sale quickly.
“If I could sell you the car you want, for a price you are willing to pay, would you buy it today?”
How could you not say “yes?” Customers are not likely to take these questions too seriously. After-all, if you could have a Veyron for less than six figures you would jump at the chance, right?
By answering in the affirmative, you would be telling the salesperson you are psychologically ready and willing to buy. Only after confirming a customer is willing to buy do they proceed with the other steps in the road to the sale.
The sales person’s responsibility is now to build the perception of value in their products before talking price. The sales person will want to begin with the highest number possible, providing the greatest room to maneuver.
If you don’t want to give the salesperson the advantage, you have two choices:
1) Break the close – If you think quickly and don’t mind being direct you can stop a salesperson in their tracks with a firm and direct “no thank you.” Professional sales people will revert to a more traditional approach of building rapport and then attempting a different closing process if you allow them.
2) Lead the sale – After identifying this closing technique has been used on you, take control by confirming your intent to buy. With the first mention of price laugh it off as if the price is way too high. Counter with a price that is slightly less than half of the retail price.
During a normal economy a 50% discount on anything is not likely. But for each round of negotiation move your price up in 5 – 10% increments. Challenge the salesperson to drop the price further with each effort. If you make it past the third round without getting thrown out, explain politely that you have raised your prices (3 increments of 5-10%) 15% to 30% over your opening bid. Compare verbally your increases to their decreases illustrating how you have given more in this negotiation.
Personally the second option sounds much more fun!
Readers: Have you ever dragged a salesperson through their whole pitch knowing full well you would never buy? Did you ever sit through a sales demonstration so you could earn a free gift? Leave a comment below and tell us what it was.
photo by The Pug Father
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