Communication Coach: How selling pros manage buying decisions

Handshake (Photo: iStock.com/Kritchanut)
Handshake (Photo: iStock.com/Kritchanut)
Handshake (Photo: iStock.com/Kritchanut)
(Photo: iStock.com/Kritchanut)

When I train sales professionals, I’m quick to remind them of an important truth — buyers contact businesses because they are considering a purchase. Never forget that.

Always assume the buyer wants to buy from you. Spending more time listening than talking is the best way to make that happen. Those first few minutes are vitally important for gaining insights about their decision-making drivers.

The best selling pros are taking notes from the get-go. This shows respect for what’s being communicated and those exact words or figures always come in handy later. My suggestion is to do this old-school with pen and paper to minimize breaking eye contact.

Buyers have questions, some easy and others not. Answer what you can and set aside what needs research or consultation with the team. Most importantly, be ready for that moment when it’s time to take control of the conversation. There will be a signal.

The rookie mistake, and we’ve all been there, is to let the conversation drift. Experienced sellers have a knack for knowing when the time is right but they still ask for permission to be sure. “May I show you a couple of ways we can make this work for you,” for example, is one way to do that.

Now you are in control of the sales process. As you get to know your buyer better, you’ll quickly discover what drives their decision making. And let’s be clear about one thing, buying is all about making decisions.

Unless you are selling a basic product or service, I recommend breaking the sales process into a few stages. It’s a way of organizing the key decisions or actions necessary to keep the ball rolling. In a design/build scenario, a design agreement and budget range are agreed to in the first stage, and so on.

Every buyer and their situation are different, so there should never be a step-by-step process. Some buyers need more time to make decisions, so you must let the conversation play out naturally, closing each stage with key decisions.

A flexible process adapts to buyers

To prevent getting stuck or hitting obstacles by buyers, it’s essential to anticipate their purchasing patterns, such as being indecisive or hasty in making decisions.

The more data fact-finders have the happier they are, and that’s the problem. You need to devise strategies to narrow down choices for these buyers. As a fact-finder myself, I always appreciate when sales professionals guide me toward choices they believe to be in my best interest.

You’ll have the opposite problem with risk-takers. They consider it a source of pride to make decisions quickly. Take extra time to help them be sure or you may find yourself starting the process over from the beginning when they later have second thoughts.

These are just a few ways you can manage selling situations to close more deals. I’m excited about sharing more useful selling tips at my Equip Exposition presentation on Oct. 19. If you plan to be there, please reach out to me at jeff@truenature.com.

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan is the owner of True Nature Marketing, a Naples, Fla.-based company helping entrepreneurs grow. Reach him at jeff@truenature.com. Jeff works with service companies that want to drive growth and enhance their brand experience with digital platforms.

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