The prospect won’t buy if he/she lacks confidence in you or your product.
How do you establish buyer confidence? By using sales tools, examples, and stories in a way that the prospect can relate the use of your product in their business environment. When is the appropriate time to begin establishing this? As soon as you can.
Besides the basic four…be enthusiastic, be on time, be friendly, look professional; these are the 12 most effective techniques I’ve learned:
- Be completely prepared. A fumbling, excuse making, apologizing salesperson doesn’t build any confidence.
- Involve the prospect early in the presentation.
- Have something in writing. An article about your company or product from a national news source will reek of credibility.
- Tell a story of how you helped another customer. This creates a similar situation that the prospect can relate to.
- Use a referral source if possible. “Mr. Prospect, you should call (name of company and contact name) to find out how we helped them”.
- Drop names of larger customers or competitors. If you are doing business with a large firm, state it in a way that shows strength rather than sounding like you’re bragging. (NOTE: Be extremely careful not to drop competition names until you’re sure it’s appropriate. Sometimes it will work against you to be doing business with the prospect’s competition)
- Have a printed list of satisfied customers. Include large and small accounts. Make perfect copies on good quality paper.
- Have an arsenal of customer testimonials. Try to get testimonials that cover various aspects of your business. Quality, delivery, competence, service, and extra effort.
- Don’t bombard the prospect. Work your examples in as a natural part of the presentation. Let confidence build to a close.
- Emphasize service after the sale. The buyer needs to be certain you won’t sell and run.
- Emphasize long-term relationship. The customer wants to feel that you will be there to help with problems, new technology, growth and service.
- Sell to help, not for commissions. Prospects can smell a greedy salesperson. It’s a bad odor.
Try to use your confidence building tools as you would use trump in a card game. Play it when you need to. If the prospect asks you who else uses your product, drop your big name customers, or give him the list of satisfied customers. If the prospect asks about service, offer your testimonials to confirm your capability. Don’t play your cards too soon.
If your business is relatively new, credibility will be a leading factor in getting the sale. You must sell your personal experience, desire to do a great job, and only ask for a small test order.
Not once have I mentioned price as a credibility factor. Being the least expensive won’t get you anywhere if the prospect has no confidence to buy and many times a low price actually scares the buyer.
There are times and places that require different confidence building techniques to be used. They will be addressed in next week’s column.
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