His need to address the gap between where he is, and where he wants to be, is the only reason why the buyer is entertaining your pitch. Show him how you can move him from point A to B and you are home and dry. The sale is yours to win. Fail to do so, and it’s yours to lose. The clearer and sooner you can do this, the better for him. And you. The more vague and meandering you are, the faster he will sell you on why he should not buy, and so you lose the sale. And as simple as this may sound, it is a simplicity rarely practiced. Largely because simple here does not mean easy. Here are 3 reasons why the vast majority of sellers are unable to move buyers from inertia to action. And what they can do about it.

You don’t listen.

If you don’t listen you are unlikely to know point A, let alone B. Therefore, you cannot move buyers from point A to B. Until you intimately interact with, and have clearly understood points A and B, hold off showing him the way. After all you don’t know it yet, now do you? A reader that sells lifts, shares the story of the mzungu client, who, to impress him with his Kiswahili, asked for a kioo in the five cars (that’s what they call lifts) he was ordering. Now the lifts are custom made to order, and there’s a six-week lead time before they land in Mombasa from Germany.

And so it was that 6 weeks later the 5 cars arrived. Giddy with anticipation, the salesperson had already budgeted for the handsome commissions he was to receive. Only for the client to hit the roof. “What is this?!” he thundered. “I said I wanted a see-through glass. Not a mirror!” Now if the salesperson, hopefully not blinded by the anticipated commissions, and knowing fully well that Kiswahili was not the client’s first language, had sought to clarify with a simple, “By kioo you mean mirror?” If he had asked this simple question, six weeks, a relationship and a sale would have all been salvaged.

‘But the customer would have felt offended by the clarification’, you say. Maybe. But which price would you rather pay? Apologising then or later when the mistake is 5 unwanted lifts old? Alternatively, after laughing about his prowess in Kiswahili, stick to using mirror in your presentation and watch his reaction or how he responds. Yes, listen keenly. That means, take notes, ask for clarification, observe, and most importantly repeat back to the client what you understand the problem (gap between points A and B) to be.

move buyers from point A to B

You assume the buyer knows his problem; he doesn’t

I’ve done thousands of pitches in my sales life. I still do. In all of them I can count on the fingers of one hand the prospects that confidently and clearly stated, “This is my Point A and this is my Point B. And this is what I want from you. Can you do it?” You see, customers don’t know what they want. You are safer coming from this direction, than the opposite one which will most certainly lead you down the kioo way. Customers won’t admit it, but are depending on you to show them what their current and desired situations look like. As they say, a problem well defined is a problem half solved.

For example, as a sales trainer, don’t be surprised that as you engage your buyer seeking to understand his current situation (point A), it turns out his problem is not training but that, with the new change in business direction and despite the resources he has put in, his sales people simply cannot adapt and so must be let go.

Or, the sole proprietor who comes in for an overdraft at the bank, only for the adept salesperson to show him that a credit card is a better option as won’t need as much collateral (which he doesn’t have) or paperwork. To help the buyer understand his points A and B, explore with him like doctor does with a patient. He doesn’t treat the persistent and unending cough you present, but the viral infection in your lungs from when, feeling all manly, you had exposed yourself to the rain and cold six months before. Seek first to understand so as to be understood.

You share too much to move buyers from point A to B

Once you show the buyer how you can get them from A to B, and you see a glint in his eyes and smile crack his face, stop. Even if you showed him only one feature of your multifeatured product. If that feature offers the benefit he is looking for, stop. You’ve said enough to close. Now close.

But no, the average salesperson says. “That’s cheating.” No. It’s not. Product superiority is not sales superiority. Customers are not looking for the best product out there. Even if they say so. They are looking for a solution to their problem; a way to move from point A to B with the least friction. If you can show that capability in your product, it doesn’t matter that it’s rated third best. You are likely to win the day. And the sale. So, so long as you are being ethical, pitch only what is necessary to close.

Successfully move buyers from point A to B

Guiding buyers from inertia to action is a fundamental aspect of your roadmap to sales success. Whereas it’s more like using an atlas than Google Maps, by listening, helping buyers make purchase decisions and saying just enough to close, you can facilitate the journey and increase the likelihood of conversion. Embrace these proven strategies and practices, and your sales will thrive.

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