Respond To Prospective Buyer’s Caution Personally, Even If It’s Not Personal

Despite sellers being largely (almost solely) to blame for the mistrust of salespeople, ironically it is still sellers who can mend it. After all, every product or service must be sold.

Get over the buyer’s caution. It’s not personal. But still, take it personally. Confused? Read on.

To begin with, the first reaction by the prospective buyer to the sales person is caution. As a buyer you are no different. Or do you warmly welcome every salesperson who approaches you with a leaflet outside the supermarket? Being snubbed happens. Via phone, email or face-to-face. It feels deeply personal; it shouldn’t be. To paraphrase: Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Historical fear

Buy why the caution in the ‘game’? Mistrust.  Because of several unfortunate experiences over the years, buyers fear they are being talked into buying something that’s not right for them; they fear they are making foolish decisions because they lack information. In a research, when asked what comes to their mind first when the word sales person is mentioned, almost to a man the respondents said such things as sleazy, conman, pushy and yuck (ouch!). This fear has tragically been inspired by the salesperson himself.

Over the years he unethically took advantage of the buyer’s ignorance. “I trusted him. I have always paid him cash for my comprehensive motor insurance cover. (7.5% of a car’s value) It was only in the fourth year after I was involved in an accident that I discovered that all along what I had was third party insurance (Kes. 7,500). The crook had been pocketing the difference all this time.” A common lamentation made by a buyer. Once bitten twice shy. he will generalize the experience to all salespeople His experience with sellers is now caution.

Equal Information access

Over the years, the hitherto ignorant buyer now has access to information thanks to the Internet. He is not the lame sitting duck he used to be. He’s an informed sitting duck. And if you hate the game, take it personally. Do something about it. Despite sellers being largely (almost solely) to blame for the foul (mistrust), ironically it is still sellers who can mend it. After all, every product or service must be sold. As informed as the buyer is, he will most likely still need the salesperson to see the transaction through. The salesperson’s role is not going anywhere in a hurry.

Take it personally

So whether it is with your tail between your legs or stomach full of humble pie, and irrespective of whether you caused it or not, you must go back and mend bridges. Any seller who chooses not to because the ocean of rejection hurts, will quickly drown in it. So, if you are a bank sales representative don’t be surprised if you get welcomed to the new market with a scolding. “You! You are the ones who told me I’d get a loan in three months and it was lie! In fact, I have told guys here (sic) not to buy from you.” Forget that you’re seeing this buyer for the first time. You are in his direct line of fire and defensively responding with an indignant, “It wasn’t me!” just adds fuel to the flame. To the buyer, “You’re all the same. Liars!”

Sales maturity

You are much better starting with. “I’m sorry to hear that. That was very unfortunate. Tell me about it.” This is maturity in selling-acknowledging that selling is not one way.  It’s both ways, leaning heavily in favour of the buyer. Acknowledging that painful curve balls will be thrown your way and taking them in your stride.  It’s taking personal responsibility for both the vices and virtues in your role. “I’m sorry you were lied to. It’s not three months, it’s six. I request that you hold on another two and I will personally handle your loan application on the six month. I cannot guarantee it but looking at your statements you stand a very good chance of getting a loan then. Is this ok?”

Take it personally but remember it’s not personal.


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