Working with Hostile Buyers

hostile buyersIt’s inevitable that you’ll eventually find yourself working with hostile buyers. Confronted by a buyer who has suddenly turned hostile, average salespeople get anxious about their own dignity. If it requires shouting before withdrawal, they shout; if their dignity allows a silent stomp out, they silently stomp out—to oblivion with that particular buyer in either case.

Champions see the situation in an entirely different light. They know at once that their buyers are in pain—that countering the buyer’s hostility with more hostility is non-productive—that their own dignity is beside the point. As human beings they want to help relieve the other person’s pain; as business people, they want to move that pain aside so they can get on with business.

Here’s how Champions win by casting themselves as the good guys: They keep calm, listen carefully, and speak to the heart of the matter at the first opportunity.

“Jim, I’m getting the feeling that you’re really more troubled by something that has nothing to do with me or my company than you are about what we’ve been discussing. [Don’t pause.] I’d like to understand what’s bothering you. Why don’t you lay a little of that burden on my shoulders? I think that’ll make it easier for both of us. Getting things like that off your chest is something you just have to do, and talking to someone not directly involved can be a great way to clarify your thinking about a challenge. Would you like to tell me about it?”

Speak clearly as you say these words, and don’t hurry them. The hostile buyer usually waffles at first—denies that he has a problem or pretends to ignore your statement. But, then, if you’ve demonstrated genuine empathy, chances are that he’ll drift into talking about what’s bothering him. Once he gets started, he’ll probably use up the available time telling you all about it. Don’t worry. He’ll invite you back, or he’ll say something like, “Enough of my personal problems. Let’s get back to the matter at hand.”

There’s almost always a way to win buyers over when you get yourself out of the way.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

For more information on how to work effectively with buyers, read When Buyers Say No.

Professional Selling – Automotive

Professional Selling AutomotiveMany automotive salespeople who haven’t yet reached the professional stage think professional selling is exactly the opposite of what it really is. They get started. They learn the product and what the special offers are then push them on the next client who comes into the dealership.

When you entered the selling field, you may have thought, “Now my job is to talk and talk and talk.” So off you go. “Here it is folks. The single, best answer to your driving needs. Oh, you’re going to love it. You’d better get one now before we run out of inventory!”

The professional automotive salesperson, the true Champion, realizes that people have two ears and one mouth, and that they should be used in those proportions. This means that after talking ten seconds, you switch your mouth off, switch your ears on, and listen for 20 seconds. This also means that instead of overwhelming your future client with your knowledge of the automotive industry and your particular line of vehicles that, you encourage them to tell you what they know, what they need and what they want.

Let’s compare the two methods. [Read more…]

The Three Principles of Rapport

Building Rapport

Building Rapport

In the world of selling, there are three principles of rapport. Working with them will increase the probability that your potential clients will buy from you:

  1. Buyers like salespeople who are like them.

Have you noticed how friends adopt each other’s behaviors? Friends tend to talk to each other at a similar speed and with a similar volume. Friends tend to adopt similar behaviors such as in their postures, facial expressions, and gestures. This same exchange of behaviors occurs when you establish rapport with buyers. You and your buyers will gradually begin to adopt similar behaviors. As your behavior becomes more like theirs, you make it easier for your buyers to like you.

If you doubt this, think about the last time you were with someone who used drastically different postures and gestures than you. At first, you would have been uncomfortable—trying to recognize what those postures and gestures meant. In effect, you were trying to translate that person’s body language into something to which you could relate. Once the understanding was there, you probably felt more comfortable. It wasn’t a matter of whether or not the other person was likable. It was more along the lines of whether or not you understood him. [Read more…]

The 7 Cs of Customer Service

Every client contact has the potential for selling, even if it’s just selling how good you are at customer service. Here are my thoughts, my 7 Cs of Customer Service, on how to keep sales closed, and to keep clients long-term.

All of our research has shown that the people who will stay in business and prosper through the next decade are people that live seven words. If you take these seven C-words and make each one a part of your make-up and a part of your daily business, you’ll not only prosper, but you will build that wonderful referral base we are all after.

The first C stands for Concern. I think people want to know that you are more concerned with serving them, helping them, and that they are happy, and want a long term relationship with you than you are with making the sale and getting the check. They want to feel that concern and many people in sales don’t get the dollar signs out of their eyes. If a person feels you need the sale and they feel pressure to purchase a product they’re not ready to commit to, they will fight you because they want your concern. [Read more…]

How to Keep Clients Happy

Mastering selling skills to gain new clients is one thing. Learning how to keep clients happy is another. If you’ve been in sales longer than six months, you have probably already learned that clients can be quite fickle. The reality of selling is that buyers can change their minds about doing business with you rather easily and often will at the slightest temptation.

This is where the value you bring to them makes all the difference. When you become not just a salesperson but a valued asset, you make it more challenging for them to replace you.

You see, you don’t just get people involved in your products. You build relationships with them. You, in essence, become part of their team–someone dedicated to helping them cut costs, provide better service, or whatever to their clients.  When you bring them the latest industry news or can have a non-selling conversation about the future of the industry, you’re not just a salesperson. You’re that industry expert they learn to rely on. And, there’s a lot of value in having those relationships–often enough value to keep your company off the chopping block if and when cost-cutting measures are put in place.

When clients are unhappy, they’re constantly comparing your product, the money and your level of service to that of the competition. As a business owner myself, I understand the value of keeping an eye on the hard costs of doing business. As a long-term business owner, I also appreciate the extra value that is often provided by some of our long-term suppliers–and prefer to keep doing business with them versus “shopping around.”

For a few other ideas on how to keep clients happy, watch my YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEWTC0GjzsU

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

When Buyers Interrupt You

One of the primary frustrations in selling is when buyers interrupt you. Granted, you are there to serve their needs. However, as a pro, you’ve pre-planned a presentation that will both educate and motivate your buyers. It has a certain flow to it that builds from one point to the next, right?

I do teach that we need to be flexible when giving presentations by sharing only what the buyer needs to hear rather than giving the exact same presentation to buyers with unique circumstances. That doesn’t mean you let the buyer run the show. As a pro, your job is to gain and maintain control of the entire presentation. By not taking control of interruptions, you’re letting the buyer control the sale. You must do your best to stay in control with the methods I’m suggesting here and by asking questions that direct the presentation back on course.

One of the ways to prevent interruptions is to set the stage in advance of your presentation. Consider giving your potential client a pad and pen. Explain that there’s a reason for the flow of your presentation, and that is to provide information and answer questions that typically arise. Suggest that he jot down thoughts that come to him during your presentation and at the end you’ll both look them over to see if you’ve covered everything. This allows you to take control, but also allows them to feel all of their questions will be answered. It will lessen their desire to interrupt you.

If you are interrupted say something like this: “I can appreciate your question. Let me make a note of that and cover it at the end of my presentation. The information I’m about to share might just answer all of your questions as we proceed.” Then go on with your presentation. You have sidestepped their interruption but honored their need to have something specific addressed. And, you have retained control of the flow of your presentation.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Learn more about this strategy and others like it by reading When Buyers Say No.

The Initial Greeting

The initial greeting is so important. As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Let me share some ideas for getting off on the right foot in a retail situation.

A couple walks into your store or display area. You don’t know their names. At this stage, it’s just plain pushy to ask. All chance of building the necessary relaxed feeling is often lost in the first moments by overanxious salespeople who stick out their hands, introduce themselves, and ask people for their names. The prospects are startled and embarrassed because they weren’t ready for that kind of attention.

Here’s how to avoid the possibility of this happening. A couple walks in. You don’t know their names and have no reason to believe they want to make your acquaintance. When you walk toward them, stop several feet away to avoid invading their space, and say something along these lines:

  • “Hello. Thanks for coming in. Please feel free to look around all you want. If I can give you any information, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
  • “Welcome to [name of your store]. What brought you in today?
  • “Good morning. Thank you for coming by. My name is Tom. If you have any questions or need assistance, I’ll be over here. Just ask.”

When you’ve spoken your version of one of those greetings, turn and prepare to walk away.

That’s right, walk away.

Don’t whirl and run, of course. Turn away slowly. If they stop you by asking a question, you’re there and ready to help. If they acknowledge you, then turn to move elsewhere in the store, you simply step aside but stay in the general vicinity so they’ll know where to find you. If you’re where you should be, they can easily ask you a question if they care to.

It’s curious how many people will head for the door when you crowd them, but will ask for the product or service they came in for when you speak courteously to them and then start turning away. By showing that you respect their privacy, you assure them that they’ll be safe in asking for what they want.

Let them settle. If you leave them alone after greeting them, and if they have any genuine interest in your product or service and the ability to buy it, they’ll home in on that item. All you have to do is let them settle.

If your product line is appliances and your store handles several types, watch without staring. Using peripheral vision, you can be looking at something in the dishwasher section when they light on a particular TV set. If they stay there for a full minute, they’ve settled. Now it’s time for you to stroll over and casually move into the next step.

Ask an opening involvement question. An involvement question, of course, is any positive question they’d ask themselves about the benefits of the product after they own it. You don’t know their names yet, of course, and it’s too soon to ask.

Walk up and say, “Would the television replace your old one, or is it going to be an additional set for your home?”

With slight changes in wording, you can adapt this opening involvement question to almost any product or service. Once you get them talking about why they want what you’re selling, you know how to go into your qualification and minor closing sequences, how to eventually lead them into happy involvement with a purchase.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International. Inc.
Excerpted from How to Master the Art of Selling.

The Buyer’s Mindset

As a sales professional, it’s critical that you put everything else out of your mind when approaching buyers and focus on the buyer’s mindset.

When put into a sales scenario, the buyer’s mindset subconsciously shifts, asking important questions which must be answered before they are comfortable moving ahead with the sales process. Because this is a subconscious process, we know that it is always at work. We can count on it. More than that, we can make it our ally.

How often have you heard yourself, or others saying the words, “I’m just looking” when approached by a salesperson? It doesn’t matter what the buyer’s individual personality style may be, this is a universal, knee-jerk reaction because of the mindset change we all undergo when a sales scenario starts.

We are thinking,

  1. “I don’t need you, your product or service;”
  2. “I don’t have any reason to trust what you have to say;”
  3. “I don’t need any help to determine if you have a product or service that interests me;” and
  4. “I’m in no hurry to make a decision.” So, basically, “Let me shop by myself, thank you.”

One of those four thoughts will be the starting point in most sales situations you encounter. Once you understand that and work from that point of view, you will more quickly reduce sales resistance and increase sales acceptance.

The following four words, and the questions they bring to your customer’s mind, control every sales situation: Need, Trust, Help, Hurry.

Here’s how.

NEED

 “I feel no need.” Your goal as a one-call closer is to help them change their mindset to one of “I feel some need.”

TRUST

“I feel no trust.” No one will let you persuade them to do or own anything if they don’t trust you. So, you must work toward helping them think, “I feel some trust.”

HELP

“I want no help.” No one ever wants to admit they’re helpless. However, you can certainly help someone see that you can provide answers in areas where they may not be as educated as you are. After all, you are a trained professional in your field. So, you need to change their mindset to one of “I want some help.” And, that you are the one I want to have help me.

HURRY

“I feel no hurry.” Your job is to help them see that by taking care of the buying decision today, they’ll be better off than if they wait. They need to think, “I feel some hurry” in order to take action. It’s your job to create urgency.

It is extremely important that you learn how these four very specific words help define your potential client’s sales resistance. They are the primary barrier between “no sale” and “sale.” They are the main line of defense. They will keep you from providing the prospective client the very product or service they agreed to talk over with you and/or need the most.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. Excerpted from Sell It Today, Sell It Now.

 

Two Couples, Two Sales Approaches

Never talk down to anyone. Here are situations with two couples, two sales approaches.

A young kid with a GED deserves just as much attention and respect when he walks into your showroom as a Summa Cum Laude CEO. Without talking down (or up) to either, you can adjust your presentation according to the needs of each. Become a quick study on what level of language to use by paying close attention to the words your buyers use.

What does that mean?

Let’s look at two different couples walking in to your store to buy a new refrigerator. Couple number one is a retired man and his wife who want to replace their 20-year old fridge. The words “fixed income” probably come to mind. We’ll assume you’ve asked a few qualifying questions to determine their specific needs which are likely to center around economy. Therefore, you’ll want to discuss such topics as dependability, low energy costs, longer food storage capabilities which stretch a food budget and perhaps a service plan that can eliminate unexpected repair costs.

Couple number two is young and just starting out. Would you use the same approach? No. You would accent the features and benefits that apply to their specific situation. The features on the unit may be the same, but you will present the benefits in a different light, one viewed from their perspective. For example, they may be cost conscious, like the older couple, and want to look at lower-priced models. You even may refer them to the same model the other couple chose, but you would handle it differently as they may be more interested in features such as outside water and ice dispensers, sections with adjustable temperatures and so on. You may even win them over to a larger model with a higher investment when they realize the longevity of the higher quality brands. The slightly greater investment they make now will likely be offset by the replacement cost they’ll avoid down the road. In truth, the larger unit may be the most cost-effective decision.

In other words, pro speaks a lot of different languages. You speak old folks. You speak young family. You speak CEO and you speak GED. The language all depends upon the needs of the individual buyers.

If you want to test this, try talking in normal business terms to a five year old. He or she will lose interest almost immediately. But then try speaking on the child’s level and just watch the happy animation appear on that tiny face as he or she realizes you have just entered the five-year old world. It’s like magic. And the same technique will work magic in sales.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

The Tools of a Real Estate Pro

Every profession has certain tools, which, once mastered, will allow you the opportunity to become one of the great ones in that field. In this post, we’ll go over the tools of a real estate pro.

Let me begin with examples from other professions. A professional golfer is paid in direct proportion to his or her ability to take a piece of steel at the end of a stick and bring it down to touch a small, white ball at the right time and place to send it hundreds of yards, eventually dropping into a small hole. Someone like Jordan Speith is very professional because he has mastered the use of his tools (and won one of the green jackets at the Masters Tournament).

A professional fighter is paid for how well he uses his fists; a surgeon, the scalpel; the carpenter must master the use of saws, hammers, and power tools. The people in each of these lines of work develop their skills through years of study, practice, and experience before they can consider themselves professionals in their fields. If they’re smart, they learn not only by their own experiences, but through the experiences of others .

The same thing applies to you in real estate. You can’t become a real estate professional without learning what one does, can you? My goal in training is to help you realize that you’re no different from any other professional person. As a real estate agent, you must primarily learn how to use your eyes, ears, and mouth because one of your most important tools is your ability to create exciting, colorful images, thus leading people to the decision to own real estate.

You see, selling real estate is no different from any other profession. People in every field of endeavor are paid in direct proportion to the amount of service they give. You, as a real estate salesperson, are as professional as the income you earn. So, in other words, if you’re not making enough money, you’re not giving enough service. Read my other blog posts for real estate professionals to learn the strategies and tactics of a true real estate pro. Then, enjoy the fruits of your labors as an empowered agent!

Copyright Tom Hopkins real estate training International, Inc.