In selling, as in martial arts, there are times when being aggressive is the only way to close the deal. At other times, though, a softer approach is the better way to go. The difference is that, in selling, our customers are not our enemies. Rather, they are our sparring partners, and the result of our interaction is that both parties should come out stronger in the end.
The Soft Sell
If you've decided that a kinder, gentler approach is what's needed to close a deal, there are three "soft" steps you can take when someone comes at you with an objection:
2. Question their objections. You can't counter an attack unless you're able to size up your opponent. And you can't handle an objection unless you understand exactly what it is and where it's coming from. Only then can you see the possibilities available to make your product or service fit with your customers' needs. So question your customers' objections, and find out how you can fill their needs. Ask them to explain, expand and elaborate until you fully understand the situation.
3. Address their concerns. Use your customers' own objections to deflect their concerns and lead them to a positive resolution of what they perceive as a conflict. Say, "You mentioned this was your real concern about using this product. Here's what we can do for you to make sure that all your needs are met."
The Hard Sell
Sometimes, it's necessary to take a more aggressive approach to make a sale. There are two steps to follow here:
2. Be able to support your belief. In sales, belief and enthusiasm can carry the day--if they are backed up by knowledge and understanding. Have all your facts and figures down, and have at least three or four strong reasons illustrating how your product stands out from the rest.
When you're trying to make a sale, you have to know what to do when an objection comes at you from left field. To make the strongest close, you have to be ready to use what you've learned about your customer, what you know about yourself and your product, and how much you believe in what you're doing.
Top-rated sales, management and motivation speaker Barry Farber (www.barryfarber.com) is author of Superstar Sales Secrets and Diamond Power.