Guertin on sales – When reason doesn’t prevail

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Emotions are often basis of purchase decisions
Ask a car dealer, and many will tell you that their customers buy the looks, the color, the style of a car first, then support their decision with logic, like gasoline mileage, warranty and affordable payment plans.
Dale Carnegie said, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”
Whether we’re buying a car, a house, a bulldozer or breadsticks, our buying decisions are driven by emotional factors, then backed up with facts. The salesperson who recognizes this will close more sales and forge stronger customer relationships.
This is yet another reason why the questions you ask up front are so critical.
Too often we make a few, quick queries about current usage and needs, then launch into a lengthy lecture on why ours is faster, cheaper and better.
You can’t blame the prospect who then says “I’ll let you know,” and stops returning your voicemail messages.
Emotional reasons for buying are as individual as your customers. While price is always mentioned as a buying requirement, we all know that the lowest price doesn’t always win.
In fact, most buying decisions are made on other criteria. Will your product or service require special training for an already over-worked office staff? Will buying from you require the prospect’s accounting department to make changes, all for the sake of a few cents per item?
Are relationships already formed with competitors? Most important, does doing business with you help to fulfill the job satisfaction needs of your customer? These are far more likely reasons than price, and every one of them can be overcome – if you uncover them.
Even buyers who appear to focus only on the logic of the sale do so because they take pride in making a wise decision which, in itself, is the emotion factor.
Understanding the buyer and that person’s business will help you to help the client. With so much information available at our fingertips, nobody
… buying decisions are driven by emotional factors …
should make a sales call without knowing something about that industry, current trends, or even the company itself. When meeting face-to-face, find the prospect’s personal buying triggers.
Ask what he or she likes best and least about current vendors. Ask who in the company would actually use the product or service you’re selling, and how your company can be of assistance.
Is that price-only buyer you’re working with more interested in protecting a budget, or demonstrating accountability to superiors? In either case, once you find out, you can help.
Ask more questions, uncover more wants and needs, and sell benefits, not just facts. You’ll end up selling more. Lots more.
Joe Guertin is president of Joseph Guertin & Associates, an Oak Creek-based speaking, training and coaching firm. Your comments are invited at 762-2450, or
May 1998 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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