For the customer, at least … it’s not writing the check. It’s making the actual decision. Of course, depending on that decision, this could also hold true for the salesperson.
I’ve studied this phenomenon for years and I have applied it to myself as the buyer as well as to my customers. The simple fact is that, once the check has been written, or the decision has been made, the pain is poof gone!
On the other hand, the process of making that final decision is beyond painful. Think of it. You have to weigh …
- Should I choose this product or that product?
- Will the product actually meet my needs?
- I like this salesperson and their company, but …
- I did not plan to spend this much.
- I wonder if I can get away with less product for less money?
- Am I getting the best deal?
- What happens if I’ve screwed up?
- How can I justify my decision to …?
- What happens if this thing breaks?
I view this entire process, from inception to ownership, in terms of what I like to call the painometer. You will be dealing with this beastie before, and long after, the buying decision has been made. Take a look at the graph below (and please be so kind to ignore my limited artistic skills).
As you can see, regardless of whether or not you will have ultimately made a wise decision, the pain is equal on both paths during the decision-making process, drops to zero after the decision has been made, and then pretty much stays at zero during the honeymoon phase. Even a crappy product will work for the first couple of weeks. Hopefully.
Afterwards … you are going to reap whatever you have sown …
“The bitter taste of poor quality lingers on long after the sweet taste of low price is forgotten”
What salespeople can do to help
Somebody has to stand above the pack and secure this sale so, it might as well be you. It starts with understanding the buyer’s journey, what their needs are, and the trials and tribulations that they are going through. Beyond that …
Anticipate their questions and needs
And then be prepared to answer them. There is absolutely no excuse for not having done your homework. None! However, before answering any question, first be sure to ask for clarification. There are few things worse than providing a great answer for the wrong question. Next, as you bask in your brilliance, be sure to confirm that you have answered that question to their satisfaction.
Earn their trust
There are vendors and then there are trusted advisors who are viewed as members of the team rather than as salespeople. Earning this position takes work but, once secured, your likelihood of having to compete for future business is minimal. You have already earned it.
There is a huge difference between selling and educating. Selling is pitching. Education is a service and one that will be appreciated. Now, buyers today are a lot better informed than they used to be with the advent of the internet. However, as much as I might read about surgical procedures, I’m never going to be a doctor. They are meeting with you likely because they have questions.
Assure them of their choice
And that you are the right one! Ultimately, every buying decision, at least to some degree, will involve taking a leap of faith. This is followed by crossing your fingers and holding your breath. Was this the right choice? Will it perform as expected? What happens when it breaks? Buyer’s remorse.
If, as the salesperson, you have built a strong relationship with your customer throughout this process, you owe it to them to assure them, to demonstrate to them, that they have correctly placed their trust with you and your company. This needs to happen before the sale is closed and then you follow through to make sure that it happens!
Be a professional!
If you can’t be a total professional throughout the entire sales process …. as a potential customer, I’m going to ask myself … “If this is the best that they can do when they want my money, what can I expect to see after they already have it?”
How about you? Do you have anything to add that you might be willing to share with the rest of us?