You see, it takes just a quick glance, maybe 4 seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In these few seconds the other person forms an opinion based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanour, your greeting, your mannerisms and how you are dressed.
The next 4 minutes are usually used to re-enforce the initial evaluation.
Because of this, many salespeople may be sales breakers rather than sales makers. Much of the emphasis in the training they’ve received is on the middle or the end of the sales process – product knowledge, negotiating, objection handling and closing. Our 58-year experience tells us that opening the relationship with the customer in the first place is by far the most important – and hardest – part of the sales process.
Almost 50% more prospects can be converted into customers by improving the quality of their initial contact with salespeople acting as sales makers.
The following key findings are the results from our customer satisfaction research, discussions with clients and customer feedback surveys which we’ve recently conducted for our clients.
We researched the sales approaches of a wide variety of organisations and found that the main causes of lost sales were because of salespeople acting as sales breakers: –
1. CUSTOMERS ARE NOT VALUED OR APPRECIATED, in fact some visiting shops or showrooms are often ignored for several minutes, even when they begin to show a distinct interest in buying. In many cases, it’s the customer who initiates the first contact.
2. CUSTOMERS ARE “LECTURED” about products and features that have little, if any, relevance to the customer’s actual needs, as no qualification takes place.
3. CUSTOMERS ARE NOT LISTENED TO when they describe their requirements. Indeed, customers often complain of BEING TOLD by the salesperson what they need!
The overwhelming verdict of customers… which stops them from buying… is that they often feel the salesperson is only interested in ‘closing the sale’ and looking after their own needs and therefore isn’t interested in them as a real person or looking after their needs as a customer.
The frightening thing is that the Number 1 sales breaker among prospects and customers remains in the ‘opening the relationship with the customer’ part of the sales process.
Do all your salespeople, honestly, get this first part right, every time? What’s going to happen in the rest of the sales process and, more importantly to the sale, if your salespeople don’t become black belts in the ‘all important’ first part of the sales process?
We’ve proved it time and again – yes even in these tough times. In fact, ESPECIALLY IN THESE TOUGH TIMES AHEAD because customers need more reassurance and confidence than ever before … for them to part with their hard-earned money.
Sales makers vs. sales breakers
Just take five minutes to look around your organisation. Are there more sales breakers who are mostly focused on closing the sale, to earn commission or a bonus, or are there more sales makers who regard closing the sale as the start of a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the customer by working to find the best value for money solution to your customers’ needs?
THE CONCLUSION IS INESCAPABLE: Organisations that train their customer-facing people with a better approach with prospects, stand to increase the number of customers by 50%!