Does that sound a bit obvious? May be not? It’s certainly the case that a lot of sales people believe that they can convince the client that they need the product, but it’s also very much the case that loads of sales people don’t even bother to try. Or more accurately perhaps, don’t realise they have to pay this part of the process much attention at all.
Allow me to explain! All buyers exhibit the following the well understood process:
Need Identification: when you realise that you need something, or someone brings this to your attention!
Information Search: this happens when you begin to research you potential purchase, and look for reviews from peers etc.
Evaluation of Alternatives: following your information search, you start to narrow down to a short list
Purchase decision: here you finally decide which product you’ll buy, sometimes prompted by simply running out of patience due to indulging in too much of number 3!
Post Purchase Analysis: If it works, you’ll be happy, and vice versa. You’ll also be happy to provide your feedback to anyone else in information search or evaluation of alternative stages
The thing is guys, unless each of these stages is followed, or under taken by the client, and importantly, in the order shown above, a purchase WILL NOT take place.
And an awful lot of sales people miss the most important part of the process, number 1! Need identification. Do you do this? Do you enter the process at the information search stage? Providing the client with lots of product information, specs may be, and prices, even discount structures? Or may be you enter the process at stage 3 Evaluation of alternatives. You’ll be ‘comparing’ your product to the competition, and helpfully describing why your client should choose your product rather than anyone else’s.
All recognised sales strategies right?
Well in this case, wrong! If the client hasn’t identified that they need your product (number 1) they aren’t going to buy it! If you haven’t convinced them they need your product, they aren’t going to buy it!
In fact, I’d go so far as to say, no one ever bought anything they didn’t want! (or need for our purposes need and want are the same thing)
‘Wait a minute!’ I hear you cry ‘I’ve bought plenty of things I didn’t need!’
Not true! You may very well have discovered, post purchase, that you didn’t need it, or even had that nagging fear before purchase, that it would be a waste of money. But can you deny you didn’t need it, on some level. It may be we are talking here, about your basic retail therapy, or some other, deeper, darker rationale. But rest assured, you needed it, or you would not have bought it.
The same goes for you client. You miss that part out, the part where they are convinced they need your product or service, and you will never close the deal. Most people, even clients, are very polite. Some even enjoy the cut and thrust of the banter they have with sales people! But ultimately, you’re wasting your breath, with all the specs, features, benefits, special discount deals, and anything else you have come up with, unless the client has at first accepted, or may be even admitted (!) they need what you’re selling.