Permit the prospect to sell themselves

This is a Sales Tip of the Week from guest poster Shulman & Associates.

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The STORY:

Nick knew that the prospect was close to making a buying decision.  Her eyes darted back and forth between her left hand and the window looking out into the parking lot.  Just a little more pushing and he knew she’d close.

“If you decide to buy today, I think I can talk the sales manager into an additional amount off.”

Good, he thought, she’s looking at me now instead of the parking lot.  I’m not going to let her get away.

“Oh,” she asked, “how much off?”

“Well, only if you decide to buy today, I’m pretty sure I can get him to go another $200.”

“If I can have $350 off, I’ll make a decision,” she responded.

“That’s pretty steep.  How about $300?” asked Nick.

“Okay.  At $300 off I’ll write the check.”

“You sure?” asked Nick.

“Without a doubt.” she responded with a smile.

As Nick walked towards the sales manager’s office, he was mentally calculating that at $300 off, his commission would be peanuts.  But, he thought, this sale would push him to the top of the board for the number of sales.  He’d win the monthly $50 bonus for most sales for the fifth month in a row.

The Result:

Nick will probably be able to talk the sales manager into $300 off, and he will probably win the monthly contest for most sales for a fifth month. And Nick will collect his $50 bonus. The problem is that Nick gave up making the sale, with a decent commission, because he was focused on winning a monthly contest.

DISCUSSION:

Even though the prospect was close to making a buying decision, Nick did not have the self-discipline to make the prospect give up.  Deciding he had to push it along, Nick gave up.  He gave up $300 without having the slightest clue whether he needed to do this or not to make the sale.

Actually the prospect in this situation was the better salesperson.  Nick offered $200, the prospect counter-offered $350 and Nick settled on $300.  The prospect made Nick give up.

In general, this tactic, which should be used by salespeople, is almost exclusively used by prospects to manipulate salespeople throughout the country.  If you criticize Nick for the dollar amount of the discount, and not the fact that he should have kept his mouth shut, then you have fallen for this prospect tactic.

APPROACH:

Why do salespeople open their mouths in these situations? Simple. They fear the prospect will walk out the door without buying. Will the prospect actually not say anything and proceed to walk out the door? Absolutely not. So don’t say anything. Eventually the prospect will come to the realization that you are not going to give up, and she will say something instead. Depending on what is said, use that as your basis for deciding on what to do next.

THOUGHT:

Prospects have been making salespeople give up increased commission and sales for years…are you going to continue to help them?

About the author:

Shulman & Associates is a professional development firm specializing in sales and management training and sales force evaluation. Visit their website to register for a FREE Sales Training Workshop. Learn how to increase sales, improve margins, and accelerate new business development. Breakfast is included in this workshop.

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