Always establish the buyer’s needs


Even when a buyer comes demanding, “I want this solar panel; my neighbour told me he bought it here,” be cautious as seeing it as an open and shut sale.

Customers don’t know what they want. There; I’ve said it. It therefore behoves the salesperson to show them. More accurately, guide them to what they need through asking questions. Even when a buyer comes demanding, “I want this solar panel; my neighbour told me he bought it here,” be cautious as seeing it as an open and shut sale. Assume the role of the doctor who will never prescribe based on a patient’s self-prognosis.  Can you imagine a patient demanding, “I want these capsules for my headache (said while holding up an empty packet); and the doctor responding with, “OK. Here.”? (Shudder). The doctor will likely, flatly respond with, “No. I first need to know why (or, what the nature of the headache is).”

When the eager beaver seller immediately gives the buyer the panel he has demanded, he may have won the war but likely will lose the battle. He will have made the sale, but if it turns out (as it might) that the wiring of the buyer’s home was slightly different, he runs the risk of selling the wrong product. And guess who the buyer will blame when the panel doesn’t work like the neighbour’s? The seller, of course. The customer may not know what he wants, but the customer forever remains King.

There are many reasons why buyers will do a self-prognosis. Not wanting to be ‘sold to’ is one; that is, fear of being pitched to and likely spend more or be convinced to buy something else. Another reason is to remain in control of the sale. Another could just be impatience. The reasons don’t matter; the principle however, does. Even if, the buyer presents themselves as knowledgeable, refrain from being too quick to acquiescing to the demand, “I want this pump.” So, what to do then? Probe, pry and peer through questions. Just don’t pester. ”Why do you want this pump?” or, “What is the nature of the problem in your house? Or, “What are the wiring specs in your neighbour’s house?” The questions will respectfully peel off the veneer of confidence that the buyer presents. (Sometimes, though rarely, it may validate it. In that instance, the probing still helped ascertain that the suitable product was sold.) With the successive peeling of the veneer, the buyer becomes more aware of his ignorance and, more importantly, your concern for his well-being. What if the buyer still insists on the product even with your expert opinion against it? Remain professional. Decline to sell it. That’s right, decline the sale. “I’m sorry I cannot sell you this spec of wire for that kind of machine, knowing fully well it won’t be a matter of if, but when, the machine blows.” Don’t be surprised if the buyer, taken aback by you confidence, is sold to your credibility. But even if he isn’t and buys the wires elsewhere, guess who he’ll come back to when the machine blows?

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