Effective salesmen should know WHY people make purchasesBY GIAN CASIMIR
PEOPLE purchase products and services for both logical and psychological reasons. Some products and services because they make life easier for us by saving us time, effort and money.
The reasons for purchasing these types of products are logical; for example, you buy a washing machine primarily because it saves you time and effort.
In today's social environment, many products and services can be regarded as "unnecessary", in that they satisfy various "wants" rather than "needs".
Some products and services give us pleasure (for example, an entertainment system) or make us feel that we stand out from the crowd (such as staying in five-star hotels), and thus enhance our self-esteem. People buy these products or services for psychological reasons.
Effective salesmen are aware of the different reasons why people make a purchase and can use these reasons as levers to make a sale.
Successful salesmen have mastered the art of persuasion. There are two main ways in which people can be persuaded: "direct" and "indirect".
Direct persuasion is straightforward as it involves behaviours such as emphasising the advantages and disadvantages of not purchasing a product or service.
Indirect persuasion is more difficult as it involves a salesman establishing his credibility and getting the customer to both like and trust him.
Caring for the customer is of utmost importance when it comes to sales. People are unlikely to care about your product or service if they feel that you do not care about them.
Successful salesmen focus on building relationships with their customers rather than on what they stand to gain from making a sale.
Developing good relationships with customers is one of the cornerstones of being successful at sales. To do this, you must be trusted and liked by them.
People will trust you when they believe that you are credible and concerned about their interests. Being open with customers and keeping your word are also crucial if they are to trust you.
Connect with your customers by showing them that you have similar interests, views and values. Find out more by listening to them and asking open-ended questions such as "What is it that you really want from this product/service?"
Too often, salesmen want to talk rather than listen because they are focused on what they stand to gain rather than on what the customer stands to gain from the purchase.
Being a good listener is a gift. When people listen actively and deeply, they suspend judgment and pay attention not only to what the customer is saying but also to the non-verbal cues he is giving.
Non-verbal cues are more important than what is actually said. Successful salesmen can identify the often unstated needs and concerns of their customers through non-verbal cues and then match these needs and concerns to products or services.
Salesmen have to deal with rejection on a regular basis. Self-talk, or what you say to yourself, is a motivational tool.
One of the barriers to being both an effective listener and a successful salesman is inappropriate self-talk.
Effective listening and self-motivation depend on being able to control one's self-talk. It is easy to be distracted by self-talk (for example, "this customer is very demanding" or "I have not had lunch as yet") when a customer is talking.
The trouble is that people notice when you are not truly listening. When this happens, you appear insincere or uninterested and the relationship is damaged.
Successful salesmen know how to use self-talk to stay motivated and avoid self- defeating thoughts. Remember that what you say to yourself colours how you see the world.
Dr Gian Casimir, honorary academic adviser of Training Edge International. He was a lecturer with Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania and currently lectures at the University of Newcastle in Singapore.
He has worked in the sales industry for several years as a consultant in Australia and with MNCs.