How not to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

A couple of times recently I’ve been on the verge of buying something. Actually ready to hand over cash or credit card when the seller has said or done something to change my mind at the last minute. I was wondering how often this happens? Probably more times than we, as business owners, realise.

How to recognise the signs of “buy out”

There has been a lot of talk about getting “buy in” but it seems to me that we are often more concerned with this than recognising the tell-tale signs of what I’ll call “buy out”. So what are the signs? I think there are two main categories of signs. There are the ones that you must recognise in yourself that are going to prompt the action in the buyer and then there are the ones in the buyer that are telling you they’re about to change their minds.

Our actions that put off buyers

  • talking too much after the buyer has offered to buy (what used car dealers used to call “buying the car back”)
  • not knowing the product well enough, being unsure of what exactly it can and can’t do
  • vacillation – whether in possible appointment times, availability of product or delivery dates
  • using the wrong tone of voice or turn of phrase ( usually related to stating something from our point of view rather than being customer centred)

Signs the buyer is cooling off

  • no longer making eye contact
  • use of phrases like – “perhaps I’ll think about it”; “don’t bother now, just let me know when you can get it”; “I want to discuss it with my spouse”
  • you are doing all the talking, the questions have stopped.

There are many more and perhaps you have some you’d like to share. Feel free to comment.

What to do about it?

  • know your product inside out
  • listen to the customer
  • be aware of the non-verbal cues customers give you
  • be customer-centred
  • if you can’t avoid some vacillation then preface it with a phrase that shows you understand their position e.g. “I realise this isn’t ideal and you need to know when we can deliver so you can organise your day but I’ll find out as soon as I can and let you know at the earliest opportunity.”

Most of all we need to be aware that it is possible to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Be aware that we can successfully sell our product or services and then scuttle the deal by failing to notice the signs in our actions or those of our customers.

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