To Get the Potential Buyer’s Attention, Make the Opening About Him

Various methods exist of opening the sale. The most effective ones have three things in common: they are succinct, buyer focused and gripping.

Boss. Hiyo wiper yako ikipiga, itaharibu kioo” Told to me by a hawker, this is the most gripping opening of any sale I’ve heard. In only seven words he had my full attention. He did not tell me, “Buy wipers. They are only 1,500shs” No. He said instead, “Sir! You’re wipers are faulty and will spoil your windscreen.” Wt happened next is covered here. Suffice to say, it was a flawless sale that left me floored.

Today, however, I want to focus on opening the sale. Various methods exist. The hawker used the personal approach-he made me feel special (calling me Boss) and he knew my need (a new set of wipers). Other methods exist but the most effective ones have three things in common: they are not just brief, but succinct; they are also buyer focused and gripping. They catch your attention, drawing you in like a bee to nectar. And it’s important that they do. Potential buyers (and that includes you and I) have a flurry of things going on in their heads. Their minds are abuzz with activity. And unless buying your product or service is on their priority list (and you’ll be lucky if it is) then it becomes your responsibility to draw them in. And saying, “Buy wipers. They are only 1500shs”, doesn’t cut it.

And there’s no difference between that statement and you saying “Open an account with us and we will waive the credit card joining fee.” So? The buyer wonders. And why? You’ve made it conditional, making him defensive; and you’ve made it about you and the buyer is not moved. Compare this too: “Excuse me Sir! Do you know that the bank is giving credit cards for free?” Buyers are human. And human beings are selfish in nature. They want to know what’s in it for them. In fact, it is because of selfishness that you open the sale with what’s in it for YOU (an account). To be effective, make the sale about the buyer through and through.

In a busy banking hall, the Branch manager says to the client walking out, “Hello Tasneem. Was it a boy or a girl?” Tasneem is stunned. She didn’t even know the branch manager knew she existed let alone know her by name and that she was expecting. She animatedly responds: A girl. “What’s her name?” Jamilla. “Would you like to know how we can help you with Jamilla’s education?” Compare this too, “Excuse me. We are selling education policies.” Said while the brochure is being thrust into Tasneem’s hand. And to know Tasneem by name required a tiny thing with huge returns: interest. For all Tasneem knows, the manager could have just dialled the extension of the customer service agent who was serving her, and asked who she was and in the ensuing response got both Tasneem’s name and recent motherhood status. Better, of course, to have a genuine interest nurtured over studying the buyer over time. After all, Tasneem is an existing client. Irrespective though, the sale was about her. Not the bank, nor the manager.

How you open the sale determines how it will unfold. Just like how your opening line to a girl you’re interested in will determine how that sale goes. In both cases, you want get the buyer’s (girl’s) full attention. And when you do get it remember it is momentary. The creative opening does not exempt you from preparing for what comes next otherwise the sale can still be lost; you must be prepared  to pull in the buyer even deeper, with targeted questions or demonstrations that will allow you to focus your product or service on how it solves his/her problem. This is exactly what the hawker did and a sale was made.

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