I was switching channels for the television when I noticed a commercial for a new series on ultimate fighting. This new form of combat between two opponents reminded me of the polarity that exists between service professional and prospective buyer. There is always sales resistance during the sales and marketing process simply because there is a lack of trust and respect.
I constantly strive to correct behavior by letting service professionals know that consumers will only do business after a relationship is built and only when they truly understand the value. Therefore the balance of power until this is established is always with the prospect. But what if I told you that you could switch the balance of power? What if I provided you some tips to be more formidable than your opponent? Let’s take a quick look at how to shift balance.
It is always important to understand that any buyer will always be:
The reason for this behavior is simply that buyers have been conditioned that individuals want to sell them items they do not want or need. Consumers are very smart today and realize they have numerous choices. More importantly they have something people of my age did not have readily available 15 years ago - Internet access. Clients conduct their own research, speak to other clients and make investment decisions long before they meet you. Therefore much like a fighter in the ring their guard is automatically up when approached.
So what can be done to meet in the middle while gaining respect, attention and opening communication?
- Always begin with a statement of value. Stop with the titles and inward methods to provide all remedies and descriptions think in terms of results for the client.
- Conduct research yourself. Before meeting ask certain questions that enable you to conduct research and build preliminary needs based on some of the research.
- Are you aware of the world around you? Our research with over 5000 organizations finds that 94% of most service professionals conduct little research in their respective industry. If you are unfamiliar with uncontrollable environmental factors how can you aid a client?
- Speak from the level of differentiation. What do you do that no one that you are aware can replicate? Speak in terms of the things you do and can resolve that no one else can.
- Stop speaking and start playing detective. I am reminded of an old Dale Carnegie sales class with two instructors illustrating the importance of listening. The seller continually “pitched” his product while the consumer continually said “I’ll but it.” But the seller kept speaking until the consumer placed a gag in his mouth. You find our more when you are silent.
- Do you have results that prove your value? So many of us are great at speaking about methods but what clients truly desire is results. Collect, collate and communicate case studies and testimonials. It is not about what you do but the results you gain!
- Ensure you have a purpose and use great service skills. Always enter a meeting with three objectives, be respectful of time and have clients respect yours. Be the professional by speaking and dressing well as well as using tools that aid you.
No one need enter a relationship with disdain. Many fighters do however sellers and buyers do not necessarily dislike they just distrust. To help gain a better sense of neutrality while also switching the balance of power, prepare so that you perform better. The simple switch in positioning will definitely gain you more wins.
© 2011. Drew Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.