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In Part 1, Clements discusses the important questions that can help your sales team understand a customer’s needs and sell them the right product to fit those needs.BClements.png

The key to selling is having an in-depth understanding of your product and of the company and what they represent. Then, you ask questions and listen, feeding back information that the customer is interested in. Don’t give them more than they want, but no less than they need. Also, present the information in a way that demonstrates that the product is really the best option for what they are trying to accomplish.

You may think that this scenario only works if a customer isn’t concerned about the cost, but in reality, many people have reservations about price. Your job is not to determine what a person can or cannot afford —your job is to take the information they gave you and present the best option that will meet their financial and usage needs. I learned long ago not to focus on what something costs, but on what it will do for the customer based upon what they told you during the questioning phase of the selling process.

Take a moment and think about items you have purchased in the past. What was the most important part of the decision process — how much it cost or how it met your needs? Granted, both of those come together at some point. However, I have found that money is not as important as how the product meets the customer’s needs. Your job is to present the best equipment option and let them decide if the investment is worth what they are going to get out of the machine.

Remember that you are the solution provider, not the buyer. Keep your personal emotions about money out of the selling process. No customer walks into your dealership think they would be better off spending their money on a cheaper, low quality machine. Take pride in selling the quality and experience that your products will bring to your customers.

Handling Objections

Now let’s take this one step further. What if the customer says, “It is just more than I want to spend.” Don’t stress out, just say, “Well, today, most things are higher than we hope they would be. How high of a price do you feel like it is?”

At this point, the customer is evaluating the money/value proposition. Based upon what you have presented, they may think they won’t get the value out of the investment you are asking them to make. As an example, let’s say I presented them with a mower that is $600 and when I asked them to share with me their thoughts on the price, they say it’s about $100 more than they want to spend.

At this point, they are really saying, “Help me understand how I can justify spending $100 more than my perception of the value.” You have sold $500 of the mower. They just need a little help with the last $100. I would go back and show them that the mower would easily last 10 years, so the $100 is only about $10 per year or less than 50 cents per mowing. This investment will give them the mower that you both know they would really prefer to have. 

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Closing the Sale

During the process, keep in mind that the customer felt comfortable enough with your dealership to look at what you have to offer. You qualified the person based on wants, needs and desires, and presented a product that met all of those requirements. Objections were handled as they arose. The customer has been giving you positive signs, so all you have to do now is ask for the business.

When it comes to closing, I always preach the same message: Just assume the customer is going to buy.

At this point in the process, I would say to a customer, “Based upon what you told me earlier and our conversation up to this point, it seems to me that this mower is exactly what you and your wife need. Let’s all step over to the counter and get the paperwork done. Now, do you want us to deliver it to your home or do you want to take it home with you?”

I didn’t ask if they wanted to buy it. I assumed they did and started giving them directions (let’s move over to the counter) and then followed up with a question that required them to say yes or yes (delivery or pick up). In most cases, the customers will simply do what you ask and the sale is complete.

If the assumptive close doesn’t work — and you will know by the fact that the customer hesitates in following your first direction (let’s move to the counter) — then you need to move to the summary close.

In this closing tactic, you have to assume there is something that the customer is not willing to buy or is not yet sold on and this causing them to have reservations. The customer might say, “I’m not sure that I’m ready to move forward yet.” Then, I want you to say, “I don’t want you to buy something that isn’t right for you and your wife. Let’s go back over what you told me you were looking for in a mower and make sure I didn’t miss anything.” At that point, take the time to go back over the areas of interest that the customer told you from the beginning of the sales process and do a summary.

When you have finished with the summary, simply ask a final question: “Is there something that I have missed or overlooked that you would be willing to share with me?” If the customer says “No,” then move back to the assumptive close. If the customer says something else such as, “I don’t want to spend that much money,” or “I don’t really want that brand of engine,” then deal with those issues by negotiating the price or by selling them a different mower that will meet their current perceived needs.