Recently I answered my door to a salesman promoting his company’s gas and electricity supply. Not the most exciting product in the world to be promoting, in my view. Also, I was a bit frazzled and had my 2 young boys at home with me, needing dinner and attention. In spite of all this though, a few hours later, he had persuaded my husband and I to change suppliers to his organisation, even though the process and paperwork is a little inconvenient, and the timing definitely wasn’t ideal!
So, ‘Why?’ I asked myself, ‘was he so successful in gaining our custom?’. Well, following are 5 simple top tips he followed which can be applied to any selling situation that you as a small business owner, will face yourself when dealing directly with a potential customer by phone or in person. So simple, yet if he hadn’t followed them, he would have gone home empty-handed…
1. He used humour, was friendly & upbeat : He immediately established rapport with me by making a joke about me ‘leaving that boring stuff’ of bills and paperwork to my husband. Straightaway I warmed to him because of his relaxed tone and gentle questioning. I was tired and a little ratty, so having a laugh with him made me agreeable to letting him talk to me for a few seconds more than I would have otherwise!
2. He was persistent : He didn’t give up at the first hurdle – my husband not being home; He didn’t think to himself ‘Oh well, it’s getting late, I’ll call it a day.’ No – he made an arrangement to return again an hour later when my husband would be there.
3. He established who the decision maker was : One of his first questions was to ascertain who was responsible for making the decisions regarding his product – gas and electricity supply; He knew that you have to deal directly with the decision-maker – talking to anyone else is a waste of your time.
4. He controlled the conversation : He who asks the questions is he who controls the conversation! You must ALWAYS be the one in control of the conversation – that way it goes the way you want it … ie gently leading your potential customer into realising their need and the benefits of your product or service. He asked who dealt with the bills, what time he would be home, and if we knew that we could save further money on our gas and electricity.
5. He knew how to get around our objections : When he returned, my husband initially told him that he was not interested (my hubby was also thinking of just settling down to relax for the evening, rather than talking to a stranger about boring things like gas bills!). This man knew how to gently steer around this – and emphasised the benefit and value of inviting him in to see if he could save us money with little effort on our part…making the VALUE of the product or service greater than the INCONVENIENCE – eliminating the objection. For every objection that you receive from a potential customer, you need to know how to answer it effectively so that you can turn that objective around.
So in total, just 5 simple techniques were used, yet the combination of them together created a win-win – we got to enjoy a better deal on our gas and electricity, and he got to go home happy that he now had another satisfied customer!