No one likes to be badgered and bullied into moving forward with a business deal. But if prospective customers are left to their own devices, most will take the path of least resistance, which is usually to take no action at all.
If you want to be successful at sales, you need to be able to help people make up their minds and overcome their natural tendency to procrastinate.
Of course, every sales process should be focused on drawing out the unique needs of the prospective buyer, and establishing a personal relationship. But at some point, the paperwork needs to be signed and handshakes made. The deal needs to close in order to be considered a sale. That’s when you need to do something like …
- Assume it’s a done deal. If the sales presentation is going well and winding down, simply switch over to the closing steps. Tell yourself it’s a done deal, then start thinking and acting that way. Review the details of the contract with the prospect, then start explaining the next steps necessary to finalize the transaction. Don’t wait for the prospect to say they’re ready to move forward, just assume it.
- Create a comparison. In the heat of the moment, most sales prospects struggle to compare the options available to them. So offer to do it for them. Draft a quick list of pros and cons – or a side-by-side list of the features/benefits you’re offering, together with those offered by your biggest competitor. Once the prospect sees that what you’re offering is the best option, they’ll feel far more comfortable moving forward with the deal.
- Offer something extra. Everyone likes to feel they’re getting a deal. It’s human nature. But instead of slashing your pricing, offer your sales prospect something extra … if they move forward with the sale right now. It doesn’t need to be a big-ticket item, but it should be something that’s unique (for example, a real estate agent could offer a prospective seller free home staging, or offer a prospective buyer a free home warranty).
- Don’t negotiate. If you open yourself up to negotiating pricing or other key factors, the prospect will never know when they’ve reached your best offer. So instead, refuse to negotiate (in a nice way). Say something like, “I can understand the desire to try and get a better deal. I would do the same thing if I was in your shoes. But this really is my best deal.” When you express confidence in your deal, they’ll feel more confident about it, as well.
- Warn that the situation won’t last much longer. If the prospective buyer feels they can get the same deal next week or next month, there’s no incentive to act now. But as soon as they learn that the product or deal will soon go away, another buyer is waiting in the wings, prices are about to rise, or new restrictions will soon set in, their natural desire to get what they think they can’t have will kick in.
- Drop names. People like to follow in the footsteps of smart people. So tell your prospect some of the other smart people who have taken this same offer: neighbors, local businesses, big-name corporations, and more.
Finesse is the key to making any of these strategies work. If the prospect feels rushed, badgered or conned, they’ll close down. But if you speak slowly, act confidently and use these techniques sparingly, sales prospects won’t be able to resist.