Having a ‘Quality’ Conversation…Part 2

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Making Customers
Tags: , , ,

The following is the second in a series of articles written by Kirk Chittick for The Home Front Magazine. Part 1 https://makingcustomers.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/having-a-%E2%80%98quality%E2%80%99-conversation/

Q: Agents are always told to create value.  How do agents create value when each prospective buyer’s perception of value could be very different?

Yes, value means different things to different people. If, as a salesperson, my focus is on my definition of value, I am wearing a virus that repels the potential customer I am trying to engage. If I can understand how they define value, I become a trusted advisor.

People buy for their own reasons. What is important to one buyer is meaningless to another. All salespeople know that intellectually, but we often resort to selling what we think is important. After all, who wouldn’t see resale value as a primary decision making factor? Or the fabulous bonus room? Or the romantic master suite? Or whatever else we may be going on about?

Salespeople instinctively know that people buy for their own reasons. We joke about a salesperson ‘showing up and throwing up’ by talking, talking and talking some more. What that salesperson is doing is trying to hit as many features and benefits as he can. Why? Because either, he has his own favorite, or he isn’t sure which one is the ‘hot button’ of this particular buyer. “If I say ‘em all and go through my whole list, I’m bound to get to theirs.” As we know, though, the problem with this approach is that by the time the salesperson does, finally, get to whatever feature the buyer is interested in, the potential customer has already, mentally checked out and left the building. “You obviously don’t care about me.”

If we know better, why do we still do it? While there are many symptoms – not asking the right questions, not asking questions at all, not understanding the buyer’s motivations, not listening to what the buyer is telling us – the basic disease that infects salespeople is that the buyer instinctively knows that all you are trying to do is sell them something. If, however, your desire is to help that buyer, then the exchange of information becomes a beneficial, two-way dialogue instead of an interrogation.

As salespeople, the ones who are effective, and there are many, have learned that selling is something we do with people, not to them. Not even for them, because that assumes we know what is best. And we often don’t. So if we are going to help people find what they are looking for, we stop selling at them and learn to engage with them in an open and honest way, gaining the trust of the buyer because they know we have their best interest at heart.

It almost always comes back to our intention as salespeople. Since 93% of communication is non-verbal, we repel customers without saying a word because they can intuitively read our intentions. That is why, to the dismay of so many salespeople, the prospects walking in the sales office door will instinctively head for the assistant. No pressure from the assistant. When an assistant says “Can I help you?” the customer knows they mean it. Not so much with a salesperson who wants only to sell and not help.

We all know we need to ask better questions so we can create value for the buyer. What we often need to remember is before we ask those questions, we need to get our intentions and attitudes in the right place – help.

By Kirk Chittick

  1. […] Part 2 https://makingcustomers.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/having-a-quality-conversation-part-2/ […]

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