Whenever confronted with somebody who wants to sell them something, prospects ask five questions, in this order.
If the answer to all of them is not a resounding “yes,” a sale is not going to take place.
1. Do I want to do business with this person? Do I trust them?
Within two minutes after you meet a prospective customer, that person has probably decided whether they are willing to buy from you. That’s why first impressions, your appearance and building rapport are so important. Also, have you done your homework and researched this person’s company?
2. Do I want to do business with the firm this person represents?
There are two possible scenarios.
If the person is not yet familiar with your firm, it’s up to you to position it in a positive manner. If the customer is familiar with your firm, then you’ve either got a good reputation, a bad reputation (you’ve got to start with damage control) or a mediocre reputation–in which case, you’re back to positioning your firm to give the prospect a positive impression.
3. Do I want and need what this person is selling?
Through the conversation with the customer, you will discover needs (and requirements) that match your offering. The biggest mistake at this stage is breaking into the ‘sales pitch’. Remember: “Customers like to buy, but they hate being sold.”
4. Does the price and value meet my expectations?
The person has recognized the need, but is assessing whether or not what you’re selling is affordable–and, if affordable, worth the money. This entails weighing that need against the other demands that are vying for their attention and money. The customer may want (or have) competitive information that is competitive. Now is the time to stress value and benefits and diminish price and competition.
5. Is this the right time to buy?
A prospect can be completely ready to buy and yet still feel that it’s not the right time. They may believe that holding out will result in a discount, or they simply are not in a hurry to decide. What can you do, when gaining positive responses from one to four above, to move to the commitment stage?