by Terry Ledden, Managing Partner - Sandler Training
When buyers are first approached by sellers, there is a ritual pattern of behaviour that emerges between both parties. It's like a "mating" dance as each party checks the other out. Like any dance, those who lead the dance control tempo, how far the dance goes and when it's over .... often leaving SELLERS standing alone, surprised, in the middle of the floor.
Some sales people still wing it. They jump into every dance unprepared. Desperate for business, they abdicate all control, throwing themselves at the mercy of the buyers. They over educate the buyer. Present. Push. Convince. I call that the "Bring & Brag" or "Show & Tell" .... stop me when you hear something you like approach.
Buyers have a system to CONTROL sales people. That system kicks in the instant their seller "detector" goes off.
Some sales people do have a system yet still find themselves too often left alone and unattended when the music stops, having invested considerable time and resources in the BUYER - SELLER DANCE that went nowhere.
Step One: SELLER GENERATES INTEREST - CARE TO DANCE?
SELLERS approach BUYERS in an attempt to generate some level of interest in a dance. Buyers' "Seller Detector" goes off and the BUYERS' SYSTEM kicks into gear. BUYERS respond. Acting aloof, they hold their cards close to the vest. They well know that information disclosed to SELLERS can and will be used against them in a court of "closing" later. However, the SELLER has done a good job generating interest, and as a result the BUYER wants the SELLER's information, knowledge, expertise and so opens the door a crack and agrees to dance.
BUYER feigns interest. SELLER is excited!
Step Two: GATHER INFORMATION (QUALIFY) - SELLER LEADS BUYER ONTO THE DANCE FLOOR
As BUYERS and SELLERS first meet, excited SELLERS attempt to break the ice with typical seller small talk tripping the buyer's seller detector yet again. Excited SELLER, already convinced of the BUYER's need, cranks up the pitch. "This is my shot," bounces between the ears of the SELLER.
Now you're probably screaming to yourself as you read this, "WAIT. STOP. DON"T PRESENT. GATHER INFORMATION." We all call that the "NEEDS ASSESSMENT," right? So, excited SELLER gets through the typical SELLER small talk (Let's get comfortable with one another before getting down to business.) BUYER asks a couple of great questions. Excited SELLER responds, recognizing those questions as clear buying signals. "Wouldn't want to do anything to throw things off track. Lets go with it," decides SELLER. In closing, BUYER asks SELLER for a proposal, exclaiming how impressed he is with the SELLER's knowledge and expertise.
BUYER steals SELLER's information and expertise. SELLER leaves ever more excited and encouraged.
Step Three: PROPOSAL - "SOUND POSITIVE, BUT NEVER COMMIT TO ANYTHING"
Encouraged and motivated by the BUYER's obvious intentions (Why else would he ask me for a proposal!), SELLER works the weekend to get the proposal in front of the BUYER in record time. After all, it's important to prove to the BUYER how much SELLER value's their business.
SELLER presents proposal to BUYER and hits the third step in the BUYER system. BUYER avoids confrontation with SELLER, sounds and acts positive while stroking the SELLER's ego with compliments. SELLER attempts to close. BUYER responds with legitimate sounding reasons to delay and agrees to a date for follow-up.
BUYER never commits when presented with a proposal. SELLER leaves feeling positive and forecasts the business.
Step Four: DECISION - LEFT STANDING
SELLER follows-up with BUYER. BUYER responds with further legitimate sounding delays, while encouraging further follow-up. SELLER follow-up calls and emails go unanswered. Management pressure on SELLER mounts. SELLER pressure on BUYER mounts. BUYER's perception of SELLERS is reinforced.
BUYER hides from seller - disappears. SELLER chases, eventually gives up - moves on.
The typical BUYER - SELLER DANCE is a fight for control between BUYER and SELLER. BUYERS want to buy. They just don't want to be sold.
Learn how to CONTROL THE DANCE while letting the BUYER feel in control .... download our free report "Why Sales People Fail and What You Can Do About It!"