In my 30-plus years in sales and marketing and management, mostly with small businesses, I have found that sales people often kill their sales themselves. The salespeople who win the sales are the ones who manage to avoid the wrong ways of selling and focus on the right ways instead.
Previously I wrote about a sales person who lost the sale of a new car to me because of what he did wrong. The unforgivable thing was he lied to me. Today, my wife told me about another sales person who lost a sale because he refused to listen to his prospects.
Dorothy and her sister went car shopping with Dorothy's niece. Dorothy had already done the Internet search to find local dealers with cars that would satisfy her niece's needs as well as payments she felt she could handle. Her niece wanted to keep her existing car except the repair costs made purchasing a new car more attractive.
Her niece even got prequalified for a loan. As she owns her present car free and clear, she has trade-in value.
For a sales person, this is a 'dream come true.' This prospect is a motivated buyer. If the sales person was listening, he would have kept within the price range they gave him. Instead of showing them cars in her range, he insisted on showing them cars in that were $15,000 to $20,000 higher.
This salesperson lost that sale long before they left. It was a matter of finding a polite way to get out of there. Later, I heard them complaining about how much they disliked this dealership so the dealership suffered too, not just the sales rep.
My family did a bit more research then went out again to a dealer for the same manufacturer at roughly the same distance from her home as the first, except in the opposite direction. This time the sales person actually paid attention to the limits they gave him. Our niece found a car that is the same model as the one she loves. It went slightly above her initial limit so she went back to her credit union to get approval for an extra $4,000.
That second dealership's sales person sold them on himself because he respected the limits they gave him. He listened and avoided the temptation to push them into a higher priced model. The need for a bump in the financing came from decisions our niece made so she could keep the model she has loved for seven years.
The Wrong Way to Sell
The following cause most customers to stop buying from you:
- Failing to listen, which means not acting on what they say
- Trying to control or pressure them
The Right Way to Sell
The following actions are important to win customers over:
- Help them come to know, like and trust you by using relationship selling skills of asking questions, listening to the answers and applying what you learn.
- Help customers buy. As described above, this means finding out what they want then helping them get it. Notice here that the customer is in control of the decision to buy.
- Recognize that customers love to buy; however, a large number of customers really hate to shop, especially for things they lack expertise in.
- Decision making is tiring so those people are inclined to do as little shopping as possible and to buy from the dealer who makes them most comfortable.
- People fear making the wrong decision. This is why it is so important that they come to know, like and trust you.
In my 30 years in sales, I often got customers to help me get the sale because they felt I really cared about helping them get what they wanted and needed. We then became partners working to make it possible for them to buy from me.
Some people make sales harder than they need to be. It is a matter of helping customers get what they want. Good salespeople avoid techniques that are the wrong way to sell like self-centered actions, choosing instead the right ways, like building strong relationships through listening and helping prospects feel secure so they can buy with peace of mind.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a small business story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
More from this contributor :What I Learned as a Customer About How to Avoid Blowing Your Sale