Here’s your biggest competitor

Have you done your research this month? Is your competition creeping up on you with new amenities, products and special incentive programs? Have you stealthily shopped the other guy so you can counter objections your prospective client may have?

Stop the presses! Your biggest competition is not the other builder, manufacturer or big-box store down the street. Although it is important to have knowledge of your competition, it is more important to know your buyer. By far, the buyer presents your biggest competition — indifference and apathy, which lead to indecision. This is your fierce competitor.

How often have you worked a prospective client, only to find out they decided not to invest in your service or any service at all? You may have felt the client was genuinely interested in your product. Your presentation was moving along nicely when suddenly the client seemed to turn cold. When you follow up a month later, the client indicates to you they decided not to buy or do anything.

The following suggestions can help you win the battle against indecision.

• Condition your prospective buyer to make decisions. Lead them down the decision trail by asking them to make many small decisions along the way. For example, engage them to create a “wish list” of products, locations, amenities and features they want. Each item on the “wish list” requires them to make a small decision. Simply use “which one” language. “Which one would you like in your home or business?” “Which one is best for your family or business?” “Which one do you prefer?” “Which one is easiest for you to maintain?” or “Which one would you place on your wish list?”

• Set the expectations of the sales process. Reduce the intimidation factor by disclosing how the sales and purchase process takes place with your company. Begin with product selection. Move to design selection, followed by the paperwork process and finally to the installation process. Caution: do not overwhelm the client with information. Merely set out an overview and then ask, “Which part of the process needs more explanation?” By discussing and following the process, the surprise factor is reduced and their confidence in you is strengthened.

• Continuously tap into their buying motivators. By asking insightful questions and listening to the answers, you will discover why the client is visiting with you in the first place. Listen beyond answers for the real motivators. Never underestimate the power of the ego as a key buying motivator. Once you determine the client’s fear, pain, ego or pleasure motivator, continue referring to it during your sales process. Attach it to each product and feature of your presentation.

• Confirm buying indicators with more questions and validation. Don’t assume you know a client’s buying motivator; most have a few. Continue to validate their needs with ongoing questions. Your job is to match their needs with your product. The only way to do this is to continue to ask questions and validate their answers. This keeps the client engaged in the buying process and makes them a part of the process. Validate each response they give you, as this will reassure them that they are making good decisions.

• Ask for the commitment in many ways. There is no single closing question or process that is a magic bullet. Thank heaven for that. Use many different closing questions and strategies. Begin to ask for a commitment from the very beginning. Most sales people do not do this for fear they are being pushy or intrusive. Get over it. Your skillful mastery of the sales process will eliminate indecision on the part of your prospective buyer.

• Use ownership vocabulary. Speak in terms of “When you own this product,” “When you take possession of…” “As a XYZ Company client, you are entitled to…,” “How will the end results feel to you with this product,” “You will be proud to protect your investment,” etc. Ownership vocabulary — “yours,” “ownership,” “take possession,” “agreement,” “pride” and “investment”—places your prospective buyer in a possession mindset.
Keep your prospects fully engaged to prevent indecision. Bona fide sales pros have many tools to accomplish this. FBN

Paul Montelongo will provide the keynote address at the 2010 Frame Building Expo, February 17-19, in Louisville, Ky.
An international authority on sales motivation, Montelongo is an author, syndicated columnist and construction industry insider. He conducts process-oriented corporate sales training programs, delivers inspirational addresses and offers retreats for sales and management teams worldwide. Having built two multi-million dollar construction companies in the highly competitive South Texas market, Montelongo is a featured speaker at industry conferences across North America and Europe.
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