Can optimism help you make an extra $10,000 to $20,000 a year? It can if professional optimism is practiced in all sales situations. Many salespeople give up easily or are beaten not by the facts but by their pessimistic interpretations of what the customer says. Often optimism is the reason rookie salespeople do so well. Some are too inexperienced to recognize all of the problems that come up when trying to sell. We can't forget all that we know, but we can use it to ask for the order one more time.
Use optimism from the very beginning of the sale to the end. For example, have you been told, "I'm just looking?" Some salespeople may feel resentment and accept defeat, but the optimist will say, "That's OK. Everyone starts out looking. It's the place to start to help you make a good decision." And with that, optimism turned a dampening statement into a springboard for the sale.
Another common statement is, "We haven't checked with our bank." It might stop the sale, but an optimist calmly counters with, "Good. That gives you time to check with them, and it gives us time to make sure you are getting the best deal from your bank before we install your equipment."
The customer will use statements throughout the sale process designed to dampen enthusiasm. Always turn everything into a positive. For example, if the customer says, "That's a lot for soft water," don't assume they mean they don't want to buy it. You could counter with an optimistic, "That's what some customers thought at first, but here is why they changed their minds and decided it's more than worth the purchase price."
Comebacks are not ad-libbed by great salespeople; they work on developing them for later use. Work on your supply by writing down statements that ended the sale and work on optimistic replies.
Price also calls for optimism. When asked the price, try prefacing it with an opening such as, "That's the best part, all the equipment we talked about tonight-the softener, purifier, shut-off valve, installation and a full half-ton of salt-is only $3,600 or approximately $45 per month. Isn't that great?" Look at all the sales tools built into that sentence. Notice the opening is very optimistic, making the client receive the price in a positive light. Then the sentence goes on to list all the features the client liked in order to build his desire. Also notice that the phrase "a full half-ton of salt" sounds like a lot more than "12 bags" or "$60 worth of salt." Finally, he ends with a simple, "Isn't that great?"
Why are these sentences similar?
- That's a lot for a water softener.
- Your competitor sells for less.
- I don't like the feel of soft water.
- I'm being laid off in March.
- I don't have my tax refund yet.
- I don't want another payment.
Many salespeople take these to signal the end of the sale; however, they don't say the customer doesn't want to buy the equipment. Here are some replies.
- Yes, it is but I know when you consider the savings and benefits, it's actually a great investment. Let me show you a few.
- Yes, but their equipment has fewer of the features you wanted. Let me show you examples.
- A few of our customers felt that way, too, but they say the short adjustment period is worth saving $50 per month and five hours per week in housework, etc.
- I'm sorry to hear you're troubled, but now is the time to be more careful. You told me that you are wasting $55 per month on cleaning supplies. Let's cut your costs by putting in the equipment.
- Good. You said your refund will be coming in 60 days. I'll schedule the installation for next week with a delayed payment of 30 days. Then you will have another 30 days until the payment is due.
- I understand. Probably you don't want your mortgage payment either but you accept it to shelter your family. You want the benefits and it will save you more than the payment.
Replies might not always work in all cases. Work on developing your replies. Remember, an optimist doesn't look at how many times these strategies fail, he concentrates on how many times they succeed.
About the Author
Carl Davidson is president of Sales & Management Solutions, which provides sales and management training designed exclusively for the water equipment industry. For more than 13 years, he has helped more than 1,400 companies in seven countries. For a free demonstration tape and catalog, contact the company at 800-941-0068; www.salesco.net.