Whilst many of us like to shop and buy things very few of us appreciate being sold to. I know I’m not alone in having been cornered at times by over-enthusiastic sales people only to make my eventual escape and buy the very same item half an hour later in a more relaxed environment. Most of us prefer to buy rather than be sold to. So, what needs to happen for your customers to buy?
It’s fair to say that it’s far more pleasant for all concerned when we allow our customers to come to their own decision to buy from us rather than try desperately to sell. Let’s consider some effective ways of influencing our customers and clients into making the decision to buy our goods and services:
– Establish yourself as an expert. Most of us like to discuss our requirements with someone knowledgable, who’s happy to give advice freely, offer suggestions and who appears genuinely interested in assisting us, our business and our success. When we feel confident and relaxed with our sales adviser we may even end up buying more than we originally intended, be happy to return for repeat purchases and be comfortable in recommending them to others whenever we can.
– It’s important not to appear too keen or desperate to make a sale. Taking something away in an ‘of course, it’s up to you; if you don’t want it’ manner can be a good tactical move as the ball is then returned firmly to the customer’s court. It becomes their decision to evaluate what they want to do rather than feel pressurised or coerced by the salesperson.
– Form alliances and connections with associated businesses in order to offer a wider menu of goods and services, so increasing your visibility. This may result in enhanced opportunities to recommend and be recommended. For example, a florist could connect with a wedding planner, funeral director, hotel, make up artist, photographer, printer; many businesses can establish themselves similarly as a one-stop shop with valuable connections that make life easier for their customers.
– Be happy to reward clients who recommend you by perhaps giving vouchers and incentives. Include a ‘use by’ date to ensure a sense of urgency. Give information, demonstrations, articles, rewards and free samples to loyal customers to remind them of your skills and range of services and keep yourself at the forefront of their mind. It’s important to retain existing clients and keep them loyal to your business.
– Many supermarkets have discovered that when there is one single, last remaining item on the shelf it can be a major inducement for customers to buy. The fear of running out of an important item, of missing out on something that may be hard to come by at a later date can push a hesitant customer into making an immediate purchase.
– Be fine about people not buying off you. Someone I know who was regularly top salesperson in her company was more than happy to tell her customers if she felt that a product wasn’t right for them. They trusted her and would frequently phone her to place their orders, take her word when she recommended new products. She cultivated respect and honesty in her relationships with them.
And remember that people like to buy from people not from companies. More often than not if we feel comfortable with someone, trust them, we’ll be happy to give them our business. Often the relationships we establish make the difference between our customers and clients choosing us over someone else.
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.
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