You lose the sale when you don’t see things from the buyer’s perspective; not only are you not on the same page, you are reading different books.

Help the buyer ‘see’ it. Paint a picture from his perspective.

Simplify the sale. Take the fellow effortlessly selling water storage tanks. He does not stop at, “This tank holds 3,000 litres,” and wait for the buyer to be impressed by that statistic. He knows it means nothing to him. Instead, he further probes, “Is your house a maisionette or flat? How many bathrooms does your house have and how big is your household?”

Paint a picture

“It’s a maisionette with 3 bedrooms and bathrooms, a compound and we are six in the family.” Children? “Three.” A simple two bed-roomed flat consumes 1,500 litres of water per week” he explains. “Your size of house consumes four times that amount.  So if you do not get City Council water you may find it prudent to buy two of these assuming you have the space for them. But if you get Council water at least twice a week then one tank should be adequate. “We get water twice a week. So I’ll take one tank.” And just like that the sale happens; the educated buyer has made an informed decision.

To paint a picture sufficient enough to enlighten the buyer and assist him with making a decision calls for the seller understanding the buyer’s circumstances; seeing things from his (buyer’s) side.

The problem with in-house training

Many times this goes beyond the traditional in-house product training, to the seller wanting to assist the buyer by using simple everyday examples.  In any case, most in-house product training looks inwards to the seller. They extol the features of the transformer insisting that it has resistance of primary and secondary coils so no energy is lost in the core, no magnetic flux losses, hence both coils have the same flux through them, and is 100% efficient meaning input power equals output power. You’re lost, huh?

That’s why the successful seller goes beyond this to the practical circumstances this transformer would be used for. This he achieves largely through research: on-line and off-line. The latter he gleans from requesting factory visits (assuming factories are the target market) or speaking to fellow engineers and asking for their perspective of things.

Guide to a decision

It is uninspiring to walk into a shop selling electronics and the salesperson cannot guide lay you into making a decision. “I want a laptop,” you say. He asks, “What kind?” Wrong question. Nine out of ten times you don’t know. If only he had said, “We have several kinds of laptops. Let me help you choose. Are you a field or office person?” Office. “Do you do graphic design or you mainly use Word and Excel?” Word mostly. Instantly, you already know it’s not a heavy duty machine that is sought. “Have you seen the laptop you want with a colleague or friend?” Yes. “Describe it to me or come over here and pick it out from these.” From here the seller can enlighten the buyer why it’s a good choice or why not and recommend alternatives. And why? They are now on the same page.

Self-limiting

Digging your heels into selling only 3,000 litre water tanks is limiting. It limits both your growth and the buyer’s capacity to make a decision and invariably a sale is lost or an inappropriate one is made.  The house is big or is slightly bigger than the standard apartment is not enough. “It’s 18 tiles across and 16 width-wise,” is better. “It’s fourteen steps this way and twelve that way,” is even better.” The buyer can picture the tiles or take the 14 steps and later do the same at her house for comparison. You even make it easier for her to ‘sell’ the size of the house to her spouse.  

You lose the sale when you don’t see (and therefore not explain) things from the user’s perspective; not only are you not on the same page, you are reading different books.


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