Over the years, I have heard stories about sales people who will talk about the product or service for a certain length of time. Then they thank the customer and leave the meeting, neglecting to ask for the order or even get their opinion.
Likewise, I have witnessed situations where the sales person continued to talk about the product or service, even though the customer had obviously given signals they were interested.
They were so busy and wrapped up in delivering the presentation - they forgot to stop and check-in with the customer.
What I have realised is that many salespeople get nervous asking for the order. They either ask too soon or way too late. Or not at all.
If we ask for the order too soon, we can be seen as too pushy and the customer feels under pressure. Still, if we leave it too late, we can be seen as weak. The customer gets bored and may even change their mind. And if we don’t ask at all, we can look like we don’t care and are uncommitted.
Once we have made our recommendation, we need to find out what the customer thinks of our proposition for several reasons. Often called the “Trial close”, we simply say “What do you think?”
- By asking for their opinion, we are seen as respectful, considerate and interested.
- It allows us to unfold any concerns or objections they may have early in the conversation and deal with them.
- Finally, we can quickly ascertain if the customer is ready to buy now or if they need any more time or details.
We all crave the warm and fussy sales where the customer responds back with a direct buying signal, telling us, “That sounds great - where can I sign up?”. And it naturally leads to closing the sale.
Needless to say, we don’t live in perfect world. So, not every situation will end with such a successful result. We need to remember that all is not lost - we may still get the sale. We just need to listen and pay attention to what they say.
Very often the customer may be happy in principle, but it’s not clear to us. All we see are objections. Yet, they may have a couple of genuine concerns they want addressed, questions answered or points clarified.
We call these the indirect buying signals – some might even include a condition. Examples might be:
“Well, if you can go back and check X, and if it can do Y… we’ll talk again…”
“I will need to read over the details after our call…”
“It’s interesting, but I need to talk to our MD about this…”
“I am not sure about the colour, I’d prefer if it was blue…”
Bear in mind, the indirect buying signals are not as obvious in conversation. Nonetheless they are just as important and valuable as they can still lead to positive outcomes. If we can satisfy the customers queries and effectively deal with the objection, we can successfully ask for the order. So, remember get your timing right, embrace the trial close and look out for both buying signals.