In today’s competitive market, the ability of businesses to sell effectively often determines the successful growth of a business. If a business is generating large quantities of great leads, but cannot convert these into sales, that business will struggle. So before we start looking at the key factors that make people buy, let’s firstly get a clear understanding of what sales is.
In any sales process, a minimum of two people are involved, one selling and one looking to buy a product or service. Sounds simple, doesn’t it, but let’s dig a little deeper. In this interaction between the buyer and the seller, where will the decision always be made? The only person who can place the order and then pay for the goods or service is the buyer, nothing happens until the buyer says, Yes. So with this in mind, surely the focus should be on helping the buyer make their decision! So much sales training available in the market tends to focus so much on sales techniques and ideas on how to question and close a sales deal, yet forgets the fact that the decision maker is not the salesperson, but the buyer. In fact, it could almost be said that there is no such thing as sales, only buying.
It has also been proven that any buying decision, no matter what the product or service is, is 80% emotional and only 20% logical.
With this all in mind, should the definition of sales not be; helping buyers make easier and more effective decisions?
With the above points all in mind, I would now like to take a look at the key emotional factors that will influence people’s decision in making a purchase.
I will only be looking at the emotional factors here and accept that the logical factors such as price, size, delivery and availability do all play a part in the decision making.
So what are the emotional factors all sales people need to consider when helping a person make a purchasing decision?
- Making a positive connection with the prospective buyer.
They say that you only get one chance to create a first impression, and nowhere is that more true, than in a face to face sales appointment. How many sales people believe so much in the gift of the gab, that they forget to focus on the most important person, the prospective client. When first meeting a prospective new client, look around; take note of what you see that links to the person, read their body language, are they nervous, confident, how are they talking, tone, speed etc. From this the salesperson needs to decide their own approach to the sales meeting that puts the prospective buyer at ease.
This is one of the most crucial parts of any sales meeting, whether it is face to face or over the phone, get it wrong and no matter how good your sales technique may be, the sale could be lost.
- What problem are they trying to solve?
People only buy something when they need to solve a problem.
It may be new equipment to manufacture, parts for manufacture, a service that will improve their business or anything else. What is very important to understand at this point, is that it is very often not the product that is most important to the prospective client, but what it represents to them. The focus of the sales person is to find out what the true nature of the problem they are trying to solve and what type of solution they are looking for. The key to finding this out, are very good questioning skills and attentive listening.
- What is the buyer’s perception of the product or service?
When people purchase a product or service, salespeople need to understand that the majority of people will have some kind of picture in their mind of what the experience is going to be like before they meet the salesperson. As a professional salesperson, it is important that you find out what thoughts or picture is in their mind so that you can choose the right strategy to follow for that meeting. The more a buyer is put at ease and dealt with as a human being who has thoughts and feelings, the easier the sales process will become.
- What past experiences has the buyer had with the product or service?
One of the first things to find out as a salesperson, is what past experiences has the buyer had with buying the product or service. This is important as past experiences will have a large affect on how they react to the salesperson. This may not appear to be fair, but as humans we have behavioural styles that are fashioned from past experiences and we go into these styles without even thinking about it. These past experiences also set up expectations in the buyer and as a professional salesperson it is important to find out what these expectations are.
- What have they heard others say about the product or service?
This point is very similar to the previous point, but often comes where the buyer has not had many or any past experiences of purchasing the product or service, but has been told the past experiences of friends and colleagues. These will also set expectations with the buyer.
- What will the product or service allow them to do or achieve, that they currently can’t do?
Often the way a product or service is positioned with a buyer is the key point on which a purchasing decision will be made, especially when all other aspects of the competition are fairly close. Positioning the buyer on the positive outcomes they could achieve with making the purchase will often make a stronger emotional connection and secure the sale. With some types of products or services it is vital that the salesperson positions the solution within the bigger picture of what can be achieved.
These are just some of the key emotional areas that many salespeople forget or are unaware to focus on when conducting a sales meeting, yet they are often the most crucial points that will set apart successful salespeople from all the others.
Many sales training courses focus heavily on the importance of asking questions in a sales meeting, but many do not give too much insight into what to ask questions about.