Selling Skills

Sales Tip: One easy and thoughtful way to control the sale

Pushy salespeople give me the creeps. Maybe it’s just my rebellious nature, but as soon as I feel someone – even in a transactional sale – getting pushy, I run the other way. I’m betting you’re a lot like I am. The goal, whether their meeting is next week, or your product is a one -time sale (really, there is no such thing as a one-time sale…. everything runs down, changes technology, becomes out of date)  is to always control the sale and build and sustain the relationship. The key: Thinking about your customer’s needs before your own. That, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t control the sale. 

When I was earning my masters in counseling (go Sun Devils!), I learned how powerful the “directed” or “forced” choice can be. And here is the thing: it’s powerful for both the sales person (or therapist) and the buyer/patient. By giving the other person a choice, you direct them to think through their options. If they don’t like the options, they typically will offer a third choice – and Bingo! If they don’t, you can help them further. 

One really important point to keep in mind: Provide a choice of two times, things, options, products. When you offer more than two, some people become paralyzed by their choices and give up. (The only time this isn’t true is when you want to help your buyer select the middle priced item. The middle price can be made to seem like a bargain compared to the higher priced choice, if the lower priced item is clearly inferior. Again, this needs to be real, not just about the price point. But I digress…)

You: Thanks, but all our speakers have been selected for this year’s conference.

After thanking them, I can go in two directions here – both right: I can either ask when they’d recommend I follow-up with them or I can suggest two different options of when I think it might be best for them for me to follow-up. (Did you follow that? Here are the examples:)

Me: Option A: Thanks so much for letting me know. When would be a good time for me to follow-up with you because the last thing I want to do is be a pest (which is my absolute truth!)? (They tell you and you honor that..)

Me: Option B: Thanks so much for letting me know. I wonder if it would be okay, then, if I followed up with you right after your annual conference, next April, or would it better for you if I emailed you before then? (They tell you and you honor that…)

Control the sale by giving the other person control. What a concept! Want more? I’d be honored to energize your sales team with ideas they can apply today to change the sales conversation, be pro-active and engage prospective customers.

Your thoughts, please.