Marketing Bootcamp

Solve Your Buyers' Problems by Changing Their Perspective

Solve Your Buyers' Problems by Changing Their Perspective
Image credit: JD Hancock | Flickr

A client recently called me with a concern about what's happening in the oil markets these days. The plummet in oil prices has the entire marketplace confused.

Many decision-makers (both consumers and businesses) won't buy any big-ticket items until they figure out what happens next.

So, what advice should sellers offer?

Perhaps you've come across a similar situation in sales in regard to customers' raising other macroeconomic factors, say, financing rates or unemployment trends.

When a customer is hung up on an obstacle over which he or she has absolutely zero control, the best strategy is to prompt the person to think of the purchase as a long-term decision, thus lessening the impact of short-term factors.

Related: Fight Overthinking, That Destroyer of Decision Making

Here is an example of this approach:

Salesperson: "So tell me specifically what concerns you."

Buyer: "Well, there are a lot of question marks in the oil market right now and I’m concerned about the effect this price drop will have on our company. I mean, my job is not in jeopardy, but things are scary right now."

Salesperson: "Got it. Let me ask you this: Do you often see fluctuations in the price of oil?"

Buyer: "Yes, all the time. But still, what’s happening right now is unusual."

Salesperson: "Agreed. But is it safe to say that this is a short-term phenomenon, especially since the price of oil has fluctuated wildly over the past five years?" 

Buyer: "Yes, it is a short-term trend. But it's serious."

Salesperson: "Understood. What about this purchase decision? Is that a short-term consideration or a long-term consideration? It’s long term, correct?"

Buyer: "Yes, it definitely is long term."

Salesperson: "I just want to be sure that you make the right decision for the right reasons. It's always dangerous to make long-term decisions based on short-term factors. I would encourage you to stay long term in your thinking. Make sense?"

Related: Break Through Uncomfortable Power Struggles in Sales Negotiations

I'm not suggesting that this approach will inspire a buyer to fall down at your feet and beg you to make the deal.

Yet this technique may change a buyer's perspective and provide him or her a new approach to what initially seemed like a problem.

Most important, by providing this change in perspective, you help your buyer move away from the tyranny of the urgent so that he or she can embrace a suitable long-term solution.

That’s when you change the purchaser's world.

Related: 7 Psychological Strategies for Mastering Sales Negotiations