Thursday, April 14, 2011

Strike up a Conversation

I stare out my window, looking towards the clouds scudding in from the south-west, and the Toronto Star headline reads “ Florida dealership will pay for your new car if it rains April 8 ”.

The details are hazy (Good one, Chris!), but you buy the car now and get your money back if it rains April 8. The article says the dealer made the decision “without a smidgen of complicated risk-assessment”, but I don’t believe that.

Still an all, the killer statement is buried at the foot of the report:-

“In our market, it seems to work better to get customers to strike up a conversation rather than screaming at us.”

I’ll come back to that in a minute

I am reading Neil Rackham’s “SPIN Selling” – SPIN as in Situation questions, Problem questions, Implication questions, Need-payoff questions.

Neil discusses the traditional sales training of Preliminaries, Investigating, Demonstrating capability and Obtaining commitment, that last being known as "closing” or “getting the order”.

Neil makes a good point that the sales process for small-ticket items has to be different from that of large-ticket items. He gives little thought to grabbing a $15 pocket knife at a display stand; it’s a token amount and a bad decision affects only him. No need for any kind of sales talk there. But a $3,000 computer system affects the entire office, so that needs a different sales cycle.

Most of us are selling large-ticket items – training sessions for $3,000, web sites for $2,500. If someone asks for an hour’s coaching, well, it’s about $150. I can wing that, but a 3-day tour-de-force for 8 staff members means WE had better have our ducks in a row.

Back to Florida

In both situations I learn that it’s the relationship, the conversation I have to develop.

I think the conclusion is that if I continue to work hard on educating my contacts (about me) and offer them tidbits of useful information on a regular basis, the sale will come quite naturally.

The client will have decided to buy before they approach me; the only question is, “What color would you like it?”.

Talk to Me !

1 comment:

AussieSalesGuy said...

Yes, there is a distinction between big ticket and small ticket items.
My previous company CEO dod not get this. He kept adding small ticket products to our mix and wondered why his profitability was falling. And why I and a few other shareholders left the company.
You could also talk commodity products versus specialty products along similar lines.
I mean Toyota were smart enough to set up separate dealerships to sell Lexus cars as distinct from Toyotas weren't they.