What You Must Stress In A Sales Situation

September 11, 2002
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Let me ask you a few loaded questions. Number one: “What do you sell?”

Before you answer, let me give you a list of some of the things you do not sell. You don’t sell furnaces or air conditioners. You don’t sell service. You don’t sell the company. You don’t sell peace of mind. You don’t sell comfort or security, and you don’t sell yourself.

That leaves very little left to sell, doesn’t it. So, what do you sell?

The answer is benefits.

Why benefits? Because that’s what people buy. In fact, when they give you the price objection, what they’re really saying is, “You haven’t provided me with enough reasons — or benefits — to owning your product or service for me to part with my hard-earned cash.”

The second question is, “Why do people buy?”

Lots of people answer, “Because they need to.”

Wrong. They may have initially called your company due to “need,” but the fact that we’ve all been turned down at one time or another means that, despite the fact that they may need our products or services, if they don’t like us or our offer, they can always get what they need somewhere else, and often for a lower price.

So, why do people buy? Because they want to.

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING

Now I’m going to prove to you that, not only am I an excellent salesman, I have the ability to read minds. Because if you’re not thinking the following question, you certainly should be. “Why do people buy? Because they want to! How much is he getting paid for this? I could have come up with that!”

Actually, the realization of that simple truth was kind of a life- changing moment for me. You see, up to that point in my career, I’d thought that salesmanship was defined as “the art of persuasion.” I’d always thought sales was talking people into things.

I’d actually been in sales, in one job or another, for about a dozen years before it finally hit me. I’d started analyzing my calls, making note of what worked well for me on a regular basis, and what didn’t work for me. I was starting to do more and more of the things that were working for me and less and less of the things that weren’t working for me. (How’s that for an idea?)

Things were starting to get better and better with fewer and fewer turndowns and more and more sales, when it finally hit me.

I realized that I couldn’t make people buy. I couldn’t talk them into buying. I couldn’t pressure them into buying. I began to realize that the people who were buying from me were buying of their own free will, and not because I talked them into anything or because I “sold them.” They were buying from me because they wanted to. They wanted the benefits I was providing for them.

ONE FINAL QUESTION

My third and last question for you is this: “What is the best, most important thing to stress when you’re in a selling situation?”

A lot of people will tell you to stress “quality.” Others will tell you to stress that your products or services are “the best.”

I’ve actually heard a lot of guys say, “Well, we’re not the cheapest, but we’re the best.” Doesn’t that statement actually translate as saying, “Our prices are higher than everyone else’s. Why don’t you check around and see if you can get it cheaper elsewhere?”

Read the next few paragraphs very closely, because you’re about to learn something that you’ll never learn from another sales instructor as long as you live.

People don’t want to spend the money for “quality,” and people don’t want to spend the money to own “the best.” Price is a big concern.

Sure, I know that people can pull out any number of surveys, consumers studies, and focus groups to contradict my point, but I really think you need to keep in mind that the majority of these surveys, studies, and focus groups were formed to prove a specific point and their questions are worded to steer people into a certain type of answer. Plus, people tend to say what’s expected of them, and who wouldn’t say that when shopping for any product or service, that their top priority is “quality” and that “price” is only a minor concern?

The word “quality” in a sales presentation often translates as “over-engineered, overdone, over-blown, and overpriced.”

So, what is the most important thing to emphasize in a selling situation? That accepting your recommendations is the way to spend the least amount of money possible. Or, as someone put it during a seminar recently, “That you’re giving them a ‘deal.’”

Another way of putting it is simply to stress the savings.

Greer is the owner of HVAC Profit Boosters Inc. and the instructor of the “Sales Survival School” in Ft. Meyers, FL. For more information, call 800-963-4822 or visit www.hvacprofitboosters.com (website).

Publication date: 09/16/2002

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