Bob noticed the middle-aged man as he walked into the dealership, looked around at the racks of literature, thumbed through one or two, and then headed toward the van on display. It was Bob’s turn to approach the walk-in traffic.
As Bob approached, the man turned, saw him and said, “Had some time, thought I’d look at what’s here.”
“Confused about options?” asked Bob with his voice trailing off.
“That’s for sure. You see these vans on the road, and every one of them seems to be done up differently.”
“Understand. By different, what do you mean?”
For the next three minutes, Bob heard about how his prospect had seen every option available on this particular van model. He ended by saying, “So many choices.”
“So that’s not good . . . so many choices?” asked Bob.
“No, no. That way I can get it just the way I want.”
“Just the way you want . . . how’s that?”
“Definitely the ABS, A/C, auto . . . ” and went on.
“No other reasons for looking at a van?”
The prospect then took a good two minutes explaining why a van would be just perfect.
At the conclusion, Bob asked, “So, since the wife will be driving it most of the time, it’s her decision?”
“Actually, she told me what she wants and left the rest up to me. Like the CD player.”
“What would you like me to do?” asked Bob, then waiting for however long it took to get an answer.
“Well, I suppose I should ask if you have one here with the stuff I want and how much?”
“Makes sense. Before I forget, I’m Bob Hastings.”
“I’m George Turner.”
As Bob and George headed over to Bob’s desk, Bob said, “I appreciate your stopping in . . . why did you come here and not somewhere else?”
“I heard that you have excellent service.”
“Ah,” responded Bob, “so service is how important?”
“Service is extremely important.”
Bob has a better than average chance of closing this sale because he became a sponge soaking up the answers to questions that he asked based on what the prospect said.
Many salespeople are so caught up in coming across as knowledgeable and friendly, they lose sight of what the prospect experiences when the salesperson comes over and says, “May I help you?”
The prospect comes in, regardless of the type of business, with some idea of what he wants to buy. But since most don’t know exactly, the prospect is also dealing with uncertainty and experiencing insecurity. No one likes nor enjoys being uncertain or insecure.
How does the prospect view the salesperson at this point? As someone who is going to put him on the spot, make him admit his ignorance and then get money out of him.
“May I help you?”
The prospect takes the path of least resistance, tacitly acknowledges his uncertainty and insecurity and says in so many words, “I’m not sure what I want to buy, but I do know I want to spend the least amount possible.”
Now the salesperson moves in to “rescue” the prospect from this unpleasant situation by providing all of the answers. At various points in the answer segment, the salesperson tries to close. Prospect resisting? Keep giving answers to “reel-in” and “rescue” the sale.
This approach works sometimes. Most often it doesn’t. Since most often it doesn’t work, why keep doing it?
Let the prospect work his own way out of the uncertainty and insecurity. Don’t rescue someone who is floundering. Let the prospect clarify why he is there.
“Confused by the choices (models, options, colors, styles, etc)?” you ask.
“Kind of . . . I’ve read a lot. I’m not sure what I want . . . exactly.”
“Perhaps this would help . . . the last time you bought . . . what was it that was important?”
By you asking questions, based on what the prospect says, you assist the prospect out of uncertainty and insecurity. He rescues himself. As a result, he feels you aren’t pushy, overbearing, or only interested in his money. You become a sponge to his concerns.
Who’s the one buying? You or the prospect? Whose concerns count? Yours or the prospect’s?
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