When it comes to the Sales Process, the development of the relationship between buyer and seller can be viewed as three distinct actions: Educate, Influence and Persuade.
Just as we have shown that education and influencing can both be positive and ethical, they can also be manipulative and cynical, sadly, the same is true of Persuasion.
Time for the final step: Persuasion
Your influence may have been positive, but that does not automatically lead to a sale. Countless times I have experienced the response, ‘yes, I see how that can be useful to us, but not just now’. This could hide a range of thoughts from the prospect, from meaning that they cannot move forward for various practical reasons, or another way of declining without saying ‘no thank you’. It could be that they have too much going on at the moment.
Whatever their reason, it is up to you how far you press them to find the real reason. You could take that as a firm no and cross them off the list, but this is potentially a missed opportunity, they have after all said that they can see the benefit.
At the other end of the scale, if you press to hard you can undo all the goodwill you have developed and they may never buy from you. How can you at least keep them interested and possibly persuade them to change their mind?
The first answer is to simply ask them. ‘What is it that’s stopping you using these benefits now? There are again, a number of ways this can go:
If they say, ‘no money’. Don’t give it away, ask them when they think they could afford it.
If they say, ‘I’m not sure it’s a good fit’, go through the advantages and benefits again.
If they say, ‘too busy’, explain how easy it would be to install/supply/provide and for them to reap the benefits.
Are you coming on too strong?
The key to all this is to know when to stop, when to take no for an answer. If you have challenged their ‘no’ once or perhaps twice, stop there. Any more challenges and they will begin to leave the conversation, possibly for good. If you back away it helps to maintain your credibility (you are not desperate!), as long as you agree a frequency of contact in order to keep them warm and to be available when they DO want to place an order.
My preferred tack is to focus on the value and the benefits:
‘When would you like to enjoy these benefits?’
‘What do you lose (or win) by postponing this purchase?’
‘How much could you lose by postponing this by 6 months?’
Adjust the wording for you own products or services. I am sure you understand the principle.
Anyone who delays investing in something of value to them is effectively losing out until they do purchase it from you. You want to give them this opportunity and to demonstrate how that now they have seen the value, it’s ‘the sooner the better’ for them.
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