Go beyond your lifestyle to successfully sell high priced products

If it’s impossible for you to fathom, it’s difficult for you to accept or say it.

Juma had practiced the response countless times.  He now had it down to a T. “When they ask me how much I want to be paid, I’ll say 30,000shs. That is a reasonable increment from the 24,000shs I’m earning currently.” Suddenly his friend Abdi walked out of the (sales job) interview and Juma whispered, “How much are they paying?” Abdi responded, “I don’t know but I asked for 40,000shs.” And Juma instantly changed his target to 40,000shs. When his turn came and the question was asked, he tried to utter ‘forty thousand’ but his mouth rapaciously refused to release the figure, greedily guarding it like a sputtering fish trapped in a net. He stammered repeatedly until finally, released from its trap, blurted, “30,000”. And why? Because, in his mind, 40,000shs was too much money.

If it’s impossible for you to fathom, it’s difficult for you to accept or say it. This is the challenge for salespeople especially those selling big ticket (high-cost) items. For instance, high net worth investment services; or, a holiday home; or, enterprise wide software installation (usually quoted in dollars), or, even a luxury car. Figures-wise, the home could be worth 100 million, the car nine million and the investment target, 50 million shillings, per quarter.  

The challenge for the salesperson is to detach his situation from the price. For instance, if I pay 10,000shs in monthly rent, I might struggle to ask the potential buyer to buy insurance that costs 30,000shs monthly. In fact, like Juma, I will likely stammer at the prospect of asking the buyer to pay the annual premium (price) of 360,000shs. To me, this is only possible if taken as a loan! Very possibly when told by my sales manager to ask for annual premium I will hear but not internalise this. No one has that kind of money is what I’ll tell myself. And therefore I limit myself to selling small-ticket items which are more consistent (and therefore mentally acceptable) with my situation.

To resolve this challenge, the salesperson must enlarge his vision to what’s possible. Mental exercises abound that help with this. Visit the dealer  selling your dream car and ask to test drive it. (It’s free in case you’re wondering). Call up the agent selling the house in the leafy suburb going for 40 million shillings and go view it. If that’s too much of a mental leap, start small. Visit a mall which is beyond you and after browsing it, sit at a high-end restaurant and ask or a soda. Imbibe it as you soak in the atmosphere. Graduate from that to asking to fit that jacket that’s worth six months your salary. Take a selfie in it. Not exposing your mind to what’s possible, limits you to swimming in shallow waters and trapping minnows. And in case you’re wondering, today Juma earns ten times the amount he was choking on.

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