Many salespeople think they know why a customer should buy. After all, they know their products and services and can tell you any number of reasons why a customer should buy. So why does a prospect not buy? It’s because salespeople don’t think like a customer.
They have their own agenda.
Salespeople too often walk into a sales call with their own agenda. That agenda is “I will make a fabulous presentation so the prospect will buy.” The salesperson often thinks that he knows enough about the prospect to know why the prospect should need and want his product. That is the first problem. The problem arises because the wrong person knows enough to make the buying decision. The wrong person is the salesperson. The right one is the prospect.
The salesperson does not think like a customer. Who can buy? Not the salesperson. The salesperson has to be creating awareness that the prospect should buy. Make sure you’ve asked the prospect questions to uncover his concerns before you make your sales presentation. Then confirm those concerns are important ones that he wants to act on. Be sure there’s a budget this year to buy. After all, your sales goals are this year, not next.
It’s pretty basic realizing that the customer is the only one who can buy. But, I see a lot of experienced salespeople moving too fast in the sales call. They jump too soon to their presentation because they think they know more than their prospects and what’s good for them. Yes, they may know more than their prospects. But what they know won’t get them a sale.
They talk too much.
Then there are the salespeople who think that all that’s important to make the sale is to show how smart they are. They show how much product knowledge they have, but it’s not enough. You have to know prospect knowledge so you can determine the fit between your product and the customer’s needs. When you think like a customer you realize that prospects don’t really care how smart you are. They just want to know that you’re smart enough to understand and solve their problems. They don’t need or want a whole lot more than that.
Worse than showing how smart you are is when a salesman comes across as a know-it-all. Those know-it-alls risk having the prospect dislike them and want to avoid doing business with them. It’s better to be humble and have others realize how smart you are than to demonstrate that you need to show someone just how smart you are.
They’re clueless about how customers think.
Some salespeople forget that a prospect has to want to work with you. Many prospects don’t have to buy from you as they already have a supplier. Prospects do have a choice of buying or not unless they’re truly desperate. Salespeople often forget that prospects are judging you from the first moment you walk into their office to decide if they even want to work with you.
Here’s how they are judging you. They are asking themselves: If I buy from you will you make me look better or worse? Can I trust what you promise if I do buy from you? Do I believe what you say? You will make a sale when your prospect has confidence in you. You will not get a sale when you create any doubts or make your prospect uncomfortable.
They don’t make it personal.
Too many salespeople think that a bottom line savings is reason enough for a prospect to buy. It’s often not. Your prospect must have a reason to buy that is personal to him. Will your work get him a raise? Will his buying from you get him recognition or help get a promotion? All these reasons are personal. You are more likely to make a sale when you have a dialogue with a prospect and uncover these personal reasons to buy.
I often say to think like a salesman when you buy, but think like a customer when you sell. When you’re buying you must learn the product and know what you need or don’t need. When you are selling, you have to put yourself in your customer’s place to know how he thinks. Thinking like a customer is a much better way to make the sale.