Do People Really Buy On the First Visit?

Increasingly, salespeople in our industry seem to be convinced that most couples won’t buy on the first visit—that we need to give them time to think or shop and then come back. At a recent seminar, one salesperson told us he sells 90% of his business on a second or third visit. This article will discuss this growing trend.


The Cost of Second Visits

If you have to return to the home, it seriously impairs your ability to earn. If a salesperson averages two appointments per night, that is 40 per month. If a salesperson earns $300 in commission on an average sale and closes one out of three, he will earn about $4,000 per month in commission. But if that salesperson has to return to get the sale, there are one or two other demos he can’t do that day because of cleaning up sales from the past week. In the long run, this costs serious money for the salesperson and the company.

What’s worse, once a salesperson makes up his mind that people will invite him back and buy, his selling days are numbered. Great salespeople believe that they have to get the sale while they are in the home. Salespeople need to remember customers who say they will buy next week and don’t, rather than remembering the few who do.


Do They Want to Buy When You Get There?

If you have trouble believing that the customer wants to buy, try this simple math test. Ask yourself how many dealers an average couple wants to see before they buy. If you guessed two, that means 50% of the time, you are the second dealer and they are hoping to buy on the day you arrive. If you guessed three, then 33% of the time, you are the last one they need to talk to in order to make a decision. The fact is that the majority of customers are ready to buy when the salesperson arrives, they just don’t share that as a defense.


Who Has Changed?

Ask yourself: Who is making it hard to sell on the first visit? Has the customer changed? Studies of current buying behavior note that customers want to spend less time than ever before on purchasing decisions. If you give the impression that you will look after their concerns, they want to make the decision now.


Do You Set Yourself Up for a Delay?

Sometimes salespeople accidentally set the stage for a call back. The following are examples of the ways they do this.

One-legged sales demos. Even though just the man or just the woman from a particular household has the power to make buying decisions today, it is too tempting for them to say, “I’ll have to ask my wife and get back to you,” etc. when they are the only one present. Performing demos when all the decision makers from the residence are there will increase your chances of closing the sale that day.

The automatic staple. Many sales- people do a demo (or don’t) and then simply staple their card to a brochure.

As soon as you give out a brochure immediately after the demo, you are telling the customer you don’t expect them to buy. Worse yet, when you write the price on the brochure, you are telling them you expect them to shop. To avoid this delay set-up, get in the habit of always reaching for an order form and at least starting to write the order after every demo.

Expecting delays. The main reason many salespeople get delays is they expect delays and are not prepared for them. Write out on paper all the ways you have practiced to overcome delays such as, “We want to think it over.” If you only have one or two techniques, do you use them? Great salespeople practice, drill and rehearse about 10 or 15 ways to overcome common objections because they know objections are coming. Practicing gives them confidence and several great ways to handle all common objections.

Market surveys show that today’s buyer wants to make a decision with minimum hassle. Remember, between 33 and 50% of the couples you visit, you’re the last person they need to see. By expecting to get the sale and taking a few steps, you can get more sales on the first visit. Using some of the techniques outlined in this article can help you sell more on the first visit and enable you to increase your income by making you more efficient.


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About the author

Carl Davidson and Ric Harry are directors of Sales and Management Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in sales & management video training, recruiting and live seminars exclusively for the water equipment industry. A free demonstration video and list of products and topics is available at 800.941.0068. Send comments on this article to them at [email protected];