Dealing with customers often frightens even the most seasoned of professionals because it is so easy to commit mistakes along the way. And when the customer walks away, a potential sale is lost and the lost profit is something that most people take very hard, indeed.
While we cannot do anything to change the fact that there will be difficult customers along the way, we can use specific tactics to ensure that you are in the best position to persuade customers to buy when they finally come knocking at your business’ door.
Below are some expert strategies that will help you deal with even the most resistant of customers. Note that not every tactic will work in every situation, so make sure that you plan ahead and that you only use techniques that you think would be appropriate for specific scenarios.
You may have already noticed this but you have probably never associated the concept of laziness with gaining more paying customers for your business.
And yet, laziness is probably the first impulse that kicks in at the back of your customer’s mind when he steps into your office/store to talk to you.
The reason for this laziness is quite simple: humans were designed by nature to take the easiest road possible. Humans don’t like the idea of exerting extra effort if it is not necessary. Sure, some people can work up to 12 hours a day earning extra money, but that doesn’t mean that they would be busting their muscles every minute of the day.
They will take minor shortcuts during their work day to make things easier. So when you are talking to a customer, you need to show that your offer is the best and that you will be the one going the extra mile to make sure that the customer will have a pleasant time doing business with you.
Over delivering is one of the easiest ways to satisfy the laziness impulse of customers. For example, if you say that you will personally deliver something to the customer in an hour or two, that takes away the need to drive all the way to your location to pick up what was purchased.
This gives the customer the idea that your business is better than all the other similar businesses in your area because you go the extra mile for your customers.
Sometimes, it is not enough to just showcase all of the benefits of your offer. This might not motivate your customer enough to get him to buy. The problem lies not in your ability to relate the benefits of your offer but rather, in the customer’s ability to imagine the risks associated with not accepting your offer.
If all your efforts at showcasing the various benefits of your offer have not worked, it’s time to change the strategy. Instead of highlighting all of the things that the customer will get by accepting your offer and buying something from you, enumerate all of the risks associated with not accepting your offer.
This might sound a little risky in itself because you will be presenting something negative but at the same time it just might be the one emotional trigger that the customer has been waiting for to make that final decision.
If the customer is really capable of buying something from you, then he would find no other objection to your offer. But if he is just there to ‘look around’ then he must be relegated to the “80” group and given to your competitors (so your competitors can deal with the difficult customer, not you).
Of course, this tactic will require a lot of brainstorming on your part because you can’t just state minor risks to your customer. You have to be prepared to lay down the different ways that your customer will experience inconvenience or even profit loss if he doesn’t accept your offer.
Don’t fabricate these risks. The risks have to be real and severe enough to jolt your customer into action. If you are not an expert in memorizing long arguments, writing down notes will help. It doesn’t hurt to write down important notes during a conversation and if it helps you get a sale, do it.
In some instances, a customer will take longer to decide because there are several tasks involved before he can make the final decision.
If you establish rapport/harmony with your customer, the logical next step is to help box out timeframes for your customer. For example, if your customer has to fill in paperwork and then consult with his manager before he gets back to you, you can say something like “So to speed things up, I think you should get started on some basic paperwork this week so we can both talk to your manager around the end of the week. Then by early next week, we would have a done deal already.” This of course is only a sample statement. I’m sure you get the picture.
People generally don’t want to talk ahead in a conversation especially if something is being offered or sold to them. This tendency can be extremely problematic to a professional who is not getting enough feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of his own sales techniques.
The best way to get someone to talk (even if he does not want to talk) is to ask questions. You have to break the ice – you can’t sit there talking for two hours without getting any feedback at all from your customer.
Doing so will probably ruin your chances of making a sale because you have no idea what is going on in your customer’s mind. Asking a simple question like “what are you thinking about now?” can help draw out objections into the open so you can deal with them.
Remember: if objects are hidden, you can’t deal with them. Don’t be afraid to ask for any problems that the customer perceives. Welcome these problems through active listening and then propose relevant solutions.