Sales 2DEVELOPING EMPATHY
EMPATHY IN SELLING
- Empathy is the power to identify with another person, and see things from his point of view.
- It differs from sympathy, which implies agreeing with that point of view.
- Selling has been described as 'the technique of reaction'.
- The salesman who has empathy can adapt his personality and behaviour to suit each type of buyer.
- He is also better qualified to analyse different buying motives and to react accordingly.
- Judgement of others in selling situations may usually be made on four bases: measurement; observation; the statements they make; and instinctive feelings.
- There is a temptation to judge others on an instinctive basis. The good salesman uses his instinct, but supplements it with the other methods of judgement.
- He must develop his ability to study, observe, question, listen and analyse.
- We cannot hope to understand others until we have learned to understand ourselves.
DEALING WITH DIFFERENT TYPES OF BUYERS
- Get the garrulous buyer to keep to the point. He may seem good-natured and friendly, but this does not mean he is easy to sell to. Look for every opportunity to get him down to brass tacks. 'Talking about holidays, your foreman was telling me you are closing down for two weeks in August. Would that be a good time to begin the installation?'
- Reassure the timid buyer with your own professionalism and self confidence. He needs support for his own judgement, so use testimonials and experience stories. Try to use words like 'prudent', 'safe' and 'sure’. Concentrate on the benefits of security, economy and durability.
- Ask the silent buyer open ended questions. Begin with general questions about his present methods and situation. Wait patiently for his answers. Use visual aids and wait for his response.
- Treat the self important or self opinionated buyer as though he were really important. Use phrases such as 'As you know'. Use his sense of importance to get a quick decision. Appeal to his vanity by asking for his help.
- Avoid meeting the argumentative buyer head on. Concede every point you can and use the 'yes, but' technique with more 'yes' than 'but‘. Put each suggestion as though it were his idea.
- Treat the angry buyer in a calm, business-like way. If he has a complaint, express regret for the inconvenience, but concentrate as soon as possible on discussing the action you will take to put it right. Keep your cool. Remain adult, focussing on giving and receiving information.
- List the possible barriers to assessment of buyers.
- Analyse your own personality and behaviour in relation to each item on the list.
- Seek the opinions of others on each item.
- Carry out this process of self analysis periodically and especially before and after important sales interviews.
Barriers to measurement include:
- Failing to examine records of previous contacts with the buyer.
- Neglecting to obtain information about the buyer's company and his business.
- Failing to relate observed facts to buying motives.
Barriers to observation include:
- Failing to notice clues in all parts of the company's premises.
- Overlooking clues in the buyer's dress, manner and personal possessions.
- Overlooking clues in his office or department.
- Failing to maintain eye contact with the buyer.
Barriers to verbal communication include:
- Talking too much or too uneconomically.
- Interrupting, or finishing people's sentences for them.
- Listening too little, or too unsympathetically.
- Failing to question statements to ensure full understanding.
- Neglecting to get agreement to major benefits.
- Failing to pose questions about buyer’s situation and present methods.
- Failing to pose open questions to find out buyer’s problems and needs.
- Selling or arguing before posing sufficient questions.
- Taking the buyer’s knowledge for granted.
- Failing to talk in terms of the buyer's needs.
- Rushing into an investigation before creating rapport.
- Failing to make an investigation conversational and friendly.
Open questions begin with who, what, why, how, when or where.
- The price of a product or service is what the buyer pays the seller. The cost is the total expense of using that product over a period.
- Often, the savings over a period will exceed the cost. The salesman's job is to prove this to the satisfaction of the buyer.
STAGES OF JUSTIFICATION
- Find out what your product should be compared with, such as his present method, or a competitor's product.
- Find out the price difference.
- Express the difference in favourable terms - annually or monthly over a long period; or per employee, operation or transaction.
- Establish and agree the benefits of your product.
- Show that the value of the benefits outweigh the cost.
METHODS OF PRESENTATION
- A cost/benefit analysis can be prepared before the presentation and even be included in the proposal.
- It can be worked out with the buyer, during the presentation.
- It can be worked out or presented to answer an objection. It can be used to close the sale.
RULES OF JUSTIFYING PRICE
- Whenever possible, use the buyer's figures. If not, quote industry norms and third parties.
- If you are going to work out costs and savings with the buyer, practise your presentation and layout beforehand.
- when analysing benefits, begin with those which can be related to reducing costs, then list those which increase profits. Finally, list the intangible benefits, such as employee satisfaction.
- when it is not possible to predict increased profits accurately, show how much profit will be needed to justify the price. Then convince the buyer he will make far more, using third party references whenever possible.
- when presenting figures, you must be relaxed and .natural. Do not be over-enthusiastic. Adopt the partnership mode.
- Remember that people often buy for emotional rather than logical reasons.
- List the benefits of your product under headings: those which cut costs; those which increase profits; those which offer intangible advantages, such as comfort and security.
- Learn prices and costs of alternative products and methods.
- Using the stages of cost/benefit analysis, prepare balance sheets to use in typical sales situations.
- List third parties who can be cited to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of your product.
THE TELEPHONE AS A SALES AID
- The telephone has its limitations as a medium of communication. It also has many advantages which can be used in selling.
- It is a good medium for investigation. People will often give information on the telephone which they would withhold in face-to-face situations.
- The telephone has a feeling of urgency. Objectives can be achieved quickly in brief bursts of two-way communication.
- Because it is a one-sense medium, the telephone often limits its users to a series of predictable responses.
- The salesman can, therefore, create scripts for each telephone sales situation.
- These scripts can include answers to each response on the part of the buyer.
- The telephone is a proven medium for obtaining appointments, since the objective is a limited one.
- First prepare yourself. Right-handed people should hold the telephone in their left hand. You should be relaxed and comfortable.
- Have to hand all the materials you will need: prospect information, a diary and a calendar.
- If you do not know the name of the buyer, get his name from the switchboard before asking to be connected.
- Smile. Your smile will show in your voice.
- when connected to a secretary or assistant, do not state your business. Ask politely and confidently to be put through to the person you want.
- If he is not available, find out when he will be free and say you will ring him back then. This will commit the secretary to connect you.
- when asked the purpose of your call, give a brief explanation in general terms and ask politely but firmly to be connected.
- If necessary, ask for help. Get the secretary's name, and use it. Ask whether she can make appointments on her manager's behalf or whether you should speak with him directly. This is an effective alternative close.
- On being connected to the buyer, greet him, using his name; then give him yours.
- It is recommended that you give your surname, followed by your whole name, e.g. 'Smith, John Smith'.
- Take care not to speak too fast. Use the lower , registers of your voice. Articulate carefully.
- Give the name of your company at once, usually immediately after your name.
- If appropriate, ask him whether he knows your company or your products. This will get him talking early, but will not affect your control of the conversation.
- Whenever possible, tell him you know something about his business or his problems.
- A question might be used to achieve the same end. Make sure it invites a simple answer. You must not lose control.
- Suggest in general terms that you have something which could be of interest to him.
- Do not make positive claims - it's too early. And never go into detail - you may get unwanted objections.
- Don‘t pressure him. Speak slowly and surely. Plan to pause at points at which he is unlikely to interrupt and take control.
- Remember you are selling an appointment, not a product. So close as soon as you possibly can - often in the first minute.
- Your first close should be general: 'I'd like to come and see you next week. Are mornings or afternoons more convenient?'
- On getting a positive response, make the appointment immediately.
- Make appointments for fifteen minute periods. '9.15' suggests you are precise, busy, punctual and brief.
- Confirm the appointment. Tell him you are writing it in your diary and do so, repeating the time and date slowly.
- Thank him and say goodbye.
- Confirm in writing.
- All objections and questions about your product may be answered: 'That's one of the points I hope we can discuss when we meet'. Then close for the appointment.
- Objections to granting the appointment should be acknowledged politely, using the 'yes, but' technique. Each acknowledgement should be followed by a close.
- Prepare a skeleton script for getting an appointment with a new prospect.
- Include all stages from switchboard onwards.
- Write answers to all likely objections to granting an appointment.
- Prepare at least three different closes. You do not want to overdo a technique.
- Practise a script with a colleague on your internal telephone system.
- To retain spontaneity, learn to paraphrase your script. Don't read it out; highlight key phrases and build your speech around them.
TYPICAL STRUCTURE FOR GETTING AN APPOINTMENT
- GET BUYER TO SPEAK`
- GAIN INTEREST
- ESTABLISH BEST TIME
- MAKE APPOINTMENT
- Good morning, Mr ... My name is Smith, John Smith. I'm from the XYZ Company of Basildon. Are you familiar with our services? (If no) Then may I tell you that ... (If yes) Then you may know that ... we offer a service which (state a benefit). Would that be important to your company?... I would very much like the chance to discuss it with you. Perhaps we could meet one day next week. Tell me, Mr ... , are mornings or afternoons more convenient? Fine. How about Friday. I can make 9.15. or would Thursday at 9.45 suit you better? 'Thanks, Mr ... I'm making a note in my diary. Friday the 7th at 9.15. I look forward to meeting you.
ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF GAINING INTEREST
- We have a new service which we believe is far more reliable in industries like yours. How important is reliability to you at present? - (If important) Then I'd very much like to see you and tell you about it. (If not) Well, there are a number of benefits which I think could save you money in other areas and I'd very much like to meet you and show you how; are mornings or afternoons more convenient?
- Mr ... , we've never met, and I'd very much like to put that right and tell you about our services. Could we fix a time one day next week?
- (Procede to: 'ESTABLISH BEST TIME')
- Mr ... , I understand that your company ... (state any known fact which may imply a need for your service). We have a service which I believe might be of interest to you and I'd appreciate the opportunity to discuss it. I shall be in ... early next week.
- (Procede to: 'ESTABLISH BEST TIME')
ANSWERS TO OBJECTIONS TO GRANTING APPOINTMENT
- NOT INTERESTED: Mr ... , I wouldn’t expect you to be interested in something you haven't had the chance of investigating. But I'd appreciate the chance to put that right. Could we fix a time for next week? How about ...
- TOO BUSY: I understand that, Mr ... That's why I'm telephoning for an appointment. If we can fix a time when you're a little less busy, we'll need only fifteen minutes to decide whether we can help you. Could we make it 9.15 on Tuesday morning? Or would late afternoon suit you better?
- WANTS MORE INFORMATION FIRST: I'd like to tell you how we might help you, but I would need some information first. Could we meet for a brief initial discussion. How's your diary looking for next week?
- SEND LITERATURE: I'd be glad to do so, Mr ... But I would prefer to give it to you personally, so that I can relate our service to your specific needs. I shall be in ... on Thursday. Could we make it first thing in the morning? ,
- CAN'T AFFORD IT: I can understand how you feel, but it may be that several features of our service can actually save you money. May I have a few minutes of your time to show you how? Could we make it late next Thursday? Is Thursday a good day for you?
- YOU’D BE WASTING YOUR TIME: It's nice of you to think of me, Mr ... , but I'm willing to invest fifteen minutes if you are. Can we make it one morning next week? How about Thursday? Or would earlier in the week suit you better?
- NO NEED: You could be right, Mr ... But our service does have special features which might well be of benefit to your company, so I really feel that a meeting would be worthwhile. Are mornings or afternoons best for you?
- CONTACT SUBORDINATE: I'd like to meet your assistant, but I believe any decisions would have to be made by someone at your level. Could we meet one day next week? Then perhaps I could meet your assistant afterwards. How would Friday morning suit you?
- USING COMPETITION: Fine. They are a good company. That's why I'd like the chance to meet you and show you what we do. Could we say one day early next week? would Monday morning at 10.45 suit you? or late afternoon on Tuesday?
- WE USED YOU BEFORE: I realise that, Mr .... But I believe some of our new ideas could be of great interest to you. They've been very successful in your industry and I'd be grateful for the opportunity to show you why. I shall be in ... for the first week of ... Are mornings or afternoons best for you?
- YOU'RE TOO EXPENSIVE: Mr ... , is price a key factor? ... Then I'd really like the chance to show you how we can save you money. May I do so one day next week ...
- I’M BUSY FOR THE WHOLE OF NEXT MONTH: I understand, Mr. .... May I make an appointment for the month after next? How about early on Tuesday 4th? Shall we say 9.45?
TERRITORY MANAGEMENT AND PLANNING OBJECTIVES
Your work must be organised to enable you to be:
- at the right place.
- at the right time.
- seeing the right man. .
- with the right information to convince him.
- at the right frequency.
Remember that success is a product of skill and effort. Any increase in the number of effective selling calls will increase sales by the same proportion.
- The salesman who always has a clear idea of whom he is going to see and why is far more likely to dictate events.
- Keep your records of customers and prospects constantly up-to-date.
- Make sure they include qualitative as well as quantitative information. You need to remember what the buyer said- his opinions, needs and objections.
- Include all information that will help you plan your calls, such as calling times and buying seasons.
- Use simple codes to identify categories that are important to you. .
- Qualify all accounts in terms of potential turnover. Then you can concentrate your efforts on those accounts with the biggest potential for increase.
- Allocate call frequency on the basis of likely increase in turnover.
- Set sales objectives for each account.
- Have clear minimum and maximum objectives for each call, and a plan for achieving them.
- Prepare all sales aids before each call. A systematic car layout will help you.
- Make notes during and after every sales interview. Refer to them before your next interview with that buyer.
- Remember that making notes of what he says is a compliment to the buyer.
- Analyse your performance after each call. Learn from what went right and what went wrong.
- List all known and suspected objections and plan how to handle them next time.
- The more you can establish simple routines, the more energy you will be able to devote to creative selling.
Prospecting for new customers must be continual. Short bursts waste resources.
Prospecting usually has three stages:
- Locating prospects
- Identifying potential
- Getting to see them
Consider such sources as:
- Trade directories
- Yellow pages
- Press articles and reports
- Non-competitive salesmen
- Existing customers
- Social contacts
- Trade exhibitions
- Local libraries and other government and municipal establishments
- Trade publications
- Contractors and sub-contractors
- Personal observation
Analyse the effectiveness of each source over a period of time and concentrate on the most profitable ones.
- The sooner you can correctly qualify the potential of a prospect, the sooner you can allocate your time correctly and profitably.
- The three point test to determine prime prospects:
- Does he have a need? Big potential is useless if he has no powerful reason to change to your product.
- Does he have authority?
- Does he have the capital?
- Maintain a file of potential prime or future prospects.
- Use it methodically. Try filing cards under a follow-up date system instead of alphabetically.
- Integrate prospect calls into your customer journey plan to achieve economic coverage.
- Discuss your plans regularly with your manager.
- Ask successful colleagues how they plan, organise and canvas.
- Analyse your performance at regular periods. Identify reasons for any ineffective use of time. Plan to eliminate them in future.
THE NEED FOR VARIETY
- The word ’closing' implies that it is something that takes place at the end of a presentation. This is not necessarily so.
- Closing is a natural process that takes place at various stages throughout the negotiation.
- If you have handled buying signals correctly and posed 1 appropriate trial closing questions then the buying decision may be made in principle quite early on. If not, however, you will need a variety of techniques to meet different situations.
- Remember that even if an attempt to close does not succeed directly, it may reveal a hidden objection.
- Also remember that many techniques for closing the sale may be adapted to get the decision on any phase of a negotiation.
- ALTERNATIVE CLOSE: Offer a choice of two alternatives: colour, size, terms, delivery, time or place of appointment, number of people to attend a presentation, date for beginning a survey.
- MINOR DECISION CLOSE: Similar to the alternative close. Ask a question on a minor point, such as 'Will you want ..... ?' (Specify an optional extra or optional service.)
- ASSUMPTIVE CLOSE: Assume that the order is yours from the beginning of your presentation. Use assumptive phrases, e.g. 'You will find that ... ' and 'Don't forget to ... ' If the buyer does not object to your assumption, confirm his agreement with a minor decision or alternative close related to delivery.
- BALANCE SHEET CLOSE: List in two columns the reasons for and against going ahead. This is a well-known technique for making the case for buying seem overwhelming. It requires a great deal of skill.
- CONFIRM WITH HEAD OFFICE CLOSE: If the buyer is wavering, ask if you may ring your office to check a relevant fact, like availability. Use physical action; extend your hand towards his telephone. Having obtained the information, ask him whether you can confirm the order while you are on the telephone.
- WRITTEN SUPPORT CLOSE: Show the buyer printed evidence for an early decision, such as a stock list suggesting imminent shortage, or a letter advising of price increase.
- IMPLIED AGREEMENT CLOSE: If the buyer wants time to think, find out how much time he needs. Then suggest he places the order on the understanding that unless he contacts you the order is confirmed.
- FINAL OBJECTION CLOSE: The buyer raises an objection at a time when you feel the sale should be closed. Pause thoughtfully. Agree the objection is important. Do not yet suggest there is an answer. Ask the buyer if he is happy about all the other aspects of the proposal. If he is not, you have found another objection and must deal with it. If he is happy, answer the objection and get him to confirm that he accepts your answer. Assume the order will now be placed and close on a minor point.
- SHARP ANGLE CLOSE: When the buyer asks whether you can meet a certain condition, ask 'if we can, may we go ahead?'.
- WHY DID I LOSE IT? CLOSE: When a buyer tells you he is not going ahead, show disappointment - which should not be difficult. Then ask him why you failed. This will often reveal the hidden objection and may help to re-open the negotiation.
- WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO? CLOSE: When all other methods have failed to obtain the order, ask what you have to do to get the order. If you are able to fulfil the requirement, close, if not negotiate or bow out gracefully until next time.
- EXPERIENCE STORY: Relate to the undecided buyer a story about a company who suffered through not buying. Conclude with any appropriate closing question.
- THE SMALL BITE CLOSE: when you will be happy with an order or arrangement of modest proportions, first suggest a much more ambitious arrangement. Pause, then suggest the modest one. 'we could install the new system in every location, but it might be more prudent to start in London and see how we go from there.'
- KEY ISSUE CLOSE: Summarise the main benefits. Ask the buyer which is most important. Agree with his answer and elaborate on it. Following with a closing question - it is more difficult for a buyer to say no under these circumstances.
- NEGATIVE CLOSE: Ask the buyer a series of questions to elicit whether he has any doubts about any aspect of your proposal. ‘An affirmative answer will uncover a hidden objection. A series of negative answers should be followed by the question 'then is there any reason why we shouldn't go ahead?.
- SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION CLOSE: Ask a direct closing question, followed immediately by a general question which reveals a benefit and can be answered only in the affirmative. 'I suggest we go live on January 5th. January is a quiet month, isn't it?'
- DIRECT CLOSE: Simply ask for the order. 'Shall we deliver on August 1st?' Might be asked following a successful minor decision close.
- Write and learn each of the above closing questions, statements and methods, adapted to suit your own products or services. ·
- Adapt them where possible to suit each stage of a negotiation: getting appointments, permission to survey, tender or demonstrate.
- Practise them constantly, adapting them to suit your own personality.
- Plan which you are going to use before each important call. ·