The Water Quality Assn. (WQA), a founding member of the European Drinking Water (EDW...
Learn how to anticipate customer resistance and make adjustments to increase your total sales
Today’s customer doesn’t need to be “sold.” They don’t want to be tricked or pushed. They want to be led to the decision that’s right for them. To get today’s sale, all you have to do is make it easy for the customer to buy. That is easier said than done. Let’s take a look at some of the things that make buying easy and some that make it tough.
Today’s customers are busy. They want to make a buying decision when it fits their schedule. Because you are in a retail service business, you need to work during hours your customers don’t. That means working evenings, Saturdays and possibly Sundays. Failure to do so makes it tough for your customers to buy.
It is not easy for customers to buy your equipment without a thorough, well-planned demonstration. The purpose of the demo is to raise customers’ interest to the point where they agree to make the purchase. Have you ever wanted to buy something but just couldn’t justify the time or effort involved? That is often how we leave customers when we fail to do a complete demo that involves all the senses.
Sometimes we accidentally do things that stop the customer from buying even though they want to. These transgressions could include scratching a countertop with your kit, arriving late for an appointment, or not being dressed appropriately. These simple things can influence your customers’ buying decisions.
Sometimes salespeople say things that kill the sale. It could be talking about politics or religion, or making assumptions and saying, “Your daughter will like this too” when you are actually referring to a customer’s wife. It could even be interrupting the customer or not pausing long enough for them to speak. All these things make it hard for customers to buy.
Before buying, customers want to feel a connection with you. But you can’t be like all your customers, so it is best to stick to the sale. Don’t ramble on about your interests—remember what you are there for at all times and methodically go through the steps on the road to the sale.
Surprisingly, many salespeople make it hard to buy by not asking customers to purchase. Sometimes salespeople are so sure the answer will be negative that they don’t ask for the order. This often happens after they complete a demo and instead of writing an order, they hand the customer a brochure with their card stapled to it. Others often use phrases like, “Call me when you are ready. We don’t like to push anyone.” If a customer asked you to come and do a demo, you should ask for his or her feedback during the demo. For example, you should ask, “Is that the kind of soft skin you want for your family?” If you receive a lot of positive answers to your questions, feel confident and offer to write the order.
I am amazed at how many dealers do not automatically offer financing. The fact is that 99% of all water equipment is sold based on monthly payments. During the demo, you are listing all the water savings in monthly terms, so it makes sense to talk about the payment in monthly terms. Today, everything is sold on payment. Don’t make it hard for customers to buy by making them say, “Excuse me, but we don’t have the cash to buy this, and we were wondering if you have a plan where we could finance it.” This could put off the sale. You have to make it easy to get the sale.
Quick, Hassle-free Installation Installation should be fast and easy. Offer installation during evening and weekend hours. Pick a time and book it the night of the sale. Go over important installation questions like what color RO faucet they will want and what side of the sink the faucet goes on, etc. Then make sure you deliver everything you discussed during the sale.
Include everything in the price you offer. I know a company that has so many arguments at installation, they have to send a sales manager out on every installation. It shouldn’t be a struggle. Make sure all the charges are included. Then make sure a well-trained, well-dressed, professional installer shows up on time.
Be sure to answer all customer questions and offer a “support line” for customers to call with other questions or problems. Nothing builds referrals like making customers happy after the sale and having an easy way for them to call you. I suggest your support line be available evenings and weekends, as that is when customers are most likely to have problems and questions.
Customers don’t mind paying extra for great service. Did you ever think people would buy coffee every morning at $2.50-plus a cup? What’s the attraction? Convenience and a quick solution. Today, it is better to charge a fair price and offer great service than to offer low prices without service.
If you make it hard for customers to buy, they will deal with someone else or choose to go without. Look at your entire operation and see what areas are easy for customers and what areas are not. Anticipating customer resistance and problems and making adjustments will make a big difference to your total sales. wqp