Working Wounded: How to Make That Sale Now

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Dear WOUNDED: I'm tired of customers who aren't in any rush to buy. How to do you get someone to buy, NOW?

ANSWER: My dad was a car dealer for 49 years. Growing up I spent untold hours listening to customers haggle over the price of a car with him. Haggling, a staple in the car biz, is suddenly not just for car dealers. A recent newspaper article revealed that Home Depot has trained its salespeople to be more "entrepreneurial" in negotiating with customers.

Haggling, competing with the Internet, the down economy -- sales are tough today. But it's still possible to get customers to buy, you've just got to get smarter in how you close the deal. I've listed thoughts about how to nudge your customers toward making that purchase, today. For more, check out Dave Anderson's book "How to Deal With Difficult Customers" (Wiley, 2007).

If you've ever bumped into a commission salesperson at the end of the quarter, undoubtedly you've experienced "help-I-need-a-sale" halitosis.

I understand the need to make a sale but my sales mantra has always been "never let them see you sweat." To continue to paraphrase that deodorant commercial, you must be "confident, dry and secure." Here's a novel concept, make it more about their needs and less about your wallet. A sure sell.

In the old days you controlled the information so you could drive the sale. Those days are gone. Customers have done their Internet homework and are often willing to delay a purchase. So give them something more than a virtual experience, break open the box to let them actually hold the product. Appeal to senses not available online. Ask, "Why wait, and pay shipping, when you can take it home right now?"

Customers aren't telling you objections -- they're telling you their fears. Rather than allowing objections to be the most painful part of a sale, realize customers are telling you all the things that potentially hold them back. See this information as the road map they need to travel to close the sale. Do they fear the reliability of the product, then explain your warrantee. Service a concern? MapQuest the service location nearest their home. Make them an offer they can't refuse and you'll meet your quarterly sales quota.

We've all seen the "Today Only" sale that drags on to tomorrow and beyond. But there are times when delaying a purchase really does cost the customer. Have you ever resisted topping off your tank only to notice the next week that the price has gone up a dime? Or more? Make your customer aware of the costs of delaying the purchase. Not fear-mongering but the dollars and sense reason why it's better to buy today.

Sales get tough in a soft economy, but that doesn't mean it will stop you from "putting your customer in" a great deal today.

Thought for the Week

"Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect." William Clement Stone

List of the Week

Just reading this will stress you out…Feeling about stress at work

77 percent of Americans experience stress-related symptoms

74 percent report they are stressed out about work

Only 59 percent reported they were stressed out at work last year

66 percent report they are stressed out about work load

From: American Psychological Association

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author, speaker and internationally syndicated columnist. He'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic, especially if you have better ideas than he does. His books include "The Boss's Survival Guide" and "Gray Matters: The Workplace Survival Guide." Send your questions or comments to him via: bob@workingwounded.com.

ABCNEWS.com publishes a new Working Wounded column every Friday. This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

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