Excerpted from the book on mindful business management, Business Black Belt.
You can lead a horse to water,
but you can’t make him drink…
Try salting the oats.
Selling is often not just convincing someone to buy your product or service but to change what they already have or what they are doing now.
Some customers are already interested in changing to something new and they know they need to buy something. Others need to be made aware that what they have or are doing isn’t working and that something new is available and that they should upgrade as soon as possible. Either you sell the customer your product or service or your customer sells you that they don’t need it. It’s your job to convince them to purchase your service or product. But after you educate them and they still won’t buy… what’s the problem?
As you know, most people are afraid of change. But where does this fear come from and why? Most of us developed a fear of change during childhood. Looking back, I sense that changes were not necessarily improvements in my situation, rather they were dictated and initiated by my parents or others for their convenience. The changes were not ones that I would have made. As a child, things were not in my control.
You don’t need to be a psychologist to see that my mental association with change was somewhat negative. Perhaps you had a similar experience. Fortunately for me, my reaction later on in life to all of this was ultimately to take control of things and make changes that suited me. I developed the ability to make changes that improved my situation. To this end, I’m relatively easy to sell to because I like to invest in improvements. Some people, on the other hand, still resist change because they’re afraid that the change will actually make things worse. These people are difficult to sell to.
Some customers avoid change because they aren’t sure how they got as far as they have. If they think they were just lucky, then they won’t want to rock the boat. Any change at all could upset everything! Without getting much further involved in the psychological details of the fear of change, consider the possibility behind your customer’s resistance to buying.
Customers have to change what they have been using or doing
Out of your customers’ mouths come all of the classic sales objections and excuses: “I can’t afford it. I don’t have enough time. I need to think about it. Blah, blah, blah…” These standard sales objections mean nothing and simply mask the real fear of taking (or accepting) action.
Selling is offering someone the opportunity to improve their situation
Position your offer in such a way that the change (i.e., improvement) it will make in your customer’s life is obvious to them. Work with your customers to make them feel in control of the change. This is more than selling benefits, because you could pitch benefits all day long only to have your customers still be afraid to go forward. I like bluntness, “Will this make an improvement that you’re looking for?” or “Do you feel like you are in control of what’s going on here?” The answers may reveal a few simple things you can do to complete your transaction. Remember that this is an attitude adjustment on your part.
Another unspoken sales objection is, “I don’t believe it/you…” (Infomercial promoters realize this and that’s why you see them demonstrate their product in action. It works.) What can you do to prove that your product really works? You can also draw your customer out by asking directly, “Do you believe that this will give you what you want?” “Is this the change you want to make?”
I suggest that you study what appeals to you and incorporate whatever works with you to compel you to spend your money—start by changing what doesn’t work for you in your own presentation to your own customers.
Business Black Belt Notes
- A customer’s real resistance to buying something may be because they feel out of control about making changes in their life.
- Ask probing questions to lead the customer to accept change
- Study what appeals to you and incorporate whatever works into your own presentation to customers.