Statistically speaking, the odds of being in a plane crash are astronomically low. Every time you step on board a plane, your chances of being involved in a crash are about one in 29 million. Based on those odds, you’d have to fly once a day for 79,452 years before wrecking.
So why is every single flight, regardless of airline, preceded by a safety demonstration? It’s because the airlines know that it’s a far better thing to be prepared for something that probably won’t happen than risking customer unpreparedness in the event something beats the odds. And so by now, anyone who’s flown even a moderate amount can practically recite the plane’s safety walkthrough by heart.
This is the sort of mindset to carry into the sale. Prepare for contingencies, understand the forks in the road the customer might take, and be ready to get the sale back on track if it takes a turn you didn’t anticipate. At my company, we teach our clients that they’re ‘enough,’ meaning they have what it takes to conquer any situation already in them. Believing in your ability to navigate tricky situations is the first step.
The best way to do this effectively? Anticipate those problems beforehand and confront them before they arise. Just because you’re confident there won’t be any hitches in your plan doesn’t mean there won’t be. Even if you think you don’t need to, give the safety demonstration anyway.
Here are three key ways to confront and stamp out potential turbulence in the sale before they arise.
Be prepared to ask for the sale twice
In 2009, I conducted a survey of 100 salespeople. I looked for unsuccessful habits, trends in behavior, and traits that led to success. Out of the 100 salespeople I observed, only one sales pro asked his customers for the sale twice during their visit. Think about your own experiences. When have you ever purchased something from a sales pro the first time they asked? You have to look at asking for a sale like helping your customer achieve a resolution to a quest. In this context, a ‘no’ isn’t a period, it’s an ellipsis. If the sales pro would only continue the conversation and ask questions to uncover the concerns that led to that no, they’ll almost always discover there’s a ‘yes’ hidden underneath.
Provide solutions before the customer knows they need them
When the reward of a purchase outweighs the risks, people buy. And if there aren’t enough admitted desires to justify the cost of ownership, then you have to paint the need to create or bring out fresh desires. A sales pro did this for me by curing something I didn’t know I could be rid of: butt sweat. I never would’ve entered a dealership and said, “I need a cure for butt sweat,” because I didn’t even know that air conditioned seats existed. But the sales pro painted the need because he was prepared. And, for good measure, he got the sale in the end. Sometimes you’ll end up knowing the customer better than you think you do.
Expect compromise and work with the customer
When dancers are in sync, one partner leads and the other follows. The magic is lost, though, when partners lose rhythm by focusing too much on the nuts and bolts of the technique and begin looking at their feet instead of their partner. We teach our clients that any sales process requires two-way trust, and demonstrating a vehicle can be a lot like a dance. One of the easiest ways to lose a sale is to get bogged down in details and minute features and lose the emotional connection with the buyer’s greater need. As the sales pro, you’re the leader. Don’t lose that emotional connection with the buyer by looking down at your feet and be prepared to compromise on the non-essentials.
Author: Jason Forrest
Jason Forrest is the CEO & Chief Culture Officer at FPG (Forrest Performance Group) and author of 40-Day Sales Dare for Auto Sales. Jason is a leading authority in culture change programs and an expert at creating high-performance, high-profit, and “Best Place to Work” cultures. As a sales professional, author, speaker, and management coach, Jason’s job is to empower professionals and executives to unleash their human performance and master their leadership skills in sales, management, culture and service. Connect with Jason@jforrestspeaker on Twitter, and on LinkedIn. For more information about FPG, please visit FPG.com.