It is true that the landscape of sales has changed. Information on products and services are available for free online and most customers will go through an extensive research of these before even deciding to contact you. Sales people and marketers should be up to date and well read on their products or services, but inevitably you will encounter what we refer to as “Informed Customers”, and in some rare cases, more informed than you! If that comes to be the case, do not let it discourage you. Instead, see below the step by step approach on how to handle situations like these, and how to win:
- Give them credit!
- Let them talk (be patient)
- Find common ground
- Seal the deal
Start off by giving them credit for their information and knowledge. Don’t hesitate to even go one step further by admitting that you might not know as much as they do, with regards to the specific product or service. The true power of a good sales person is not in the knowledge of the product or service, but rather the ability to guide the discussion towards the desired direction. It’s simple, just say “I have seen you have done your homework”, and don’t be in a rush to answer back to them. You want to avoid having a who knows more discussion with an informed customer.
Everybody loves to share their knowledge and how much they have prepared for this. This is where you need to be patient. Let them do the talking, let them guide the discussion for a while. Jump in their monologue when you have a clear idea of how much information the customer has reference the actual product and pricing, and what is the actual need for it.
Do not antagonise them. These people have spent countless days and nights reviewing the specific products and services, and the last thing they want is for you to burst their bubble. Instead, you can complement that knowledge by adding some more information and monitor their response. Avoid discussion on areas you are not well informed about, and instead try to find common ground. Use sentences that will enable that agreeableness to occur, i.e. “Would you agree that… ” , “Wouldn’t it be fair to say that…”. And again see the response. If you are just repeating stuff that they already know, then more likely they will get on board with you.
The last step is to seal the deal. If you can manage to get through the first three steps and the customer is still following, then you can just get on with the pricing and details. Informed customers will know of a good deal when they see one, so there is no more reason to beat around the bush. Lay the deal out to them and allow for some little room for discussion. Most of the discussion has already taken place either way, so it is time to shake hands on it. What you are in essence doing, is allowing the customer to sell your product or service to themselves!
An area that you should as a sales person or marketer be vary wary of, is customers who are not interested in a transaction, but rather just want to shine in the spotlight for three seconds, also known as “Tyre Kickers”. These are the people that will literally waste your time, and try to contradict everything you say in no substantial or constructive manner. Do not be drawn into it. Simply walk away. Focus on the genuinely interested customers. Time is money ! (this is a topic I will be addressing in full in a future blog post)
I hope you have found this topic interesting and useful. What do you think about it? All feedback and comments are welcomed.