Sunday, July 4, 2010

Treat Your Customers Like Sheep, and They'll End Up Buying in Flocks

A lot of the time, personal service - at least during the selling process - isn't what buyers really want... it's just what they think they want. The reality, however, is that they are much more swayed by the actions and opinions of other people around them.

It's group psychology at its finest, and an important realization if you're going to be a high-powered sales professional.

Simply put, if most of the members of a certain group are excited about buying from you, then that greatly increases the excitement of the other prospects around them. That's a longer way of saying that energy and enthusiasm leads to more energy and enthusiasm; you can see the same dynamic at play in a motivational seminar.

People like to think they are like dogs, leading the pack, when most of the time they act like sheep, preferring to follow the group than lead their own pack.

Of course, using the term "sheep" is just an analogy; it isn't meant as an insult to the people who buy from us, just a way to visualize the way humans think. Originally, this article was titled "How to Use the Power of Buying Teams and Group Purchasing Decisions to Open Bigger Accounts," but I've found that producers tend to remember the mental picture of fluffy white creatures a lot better. Either way, though, it's something you can use to your advantage. Here's how:

Sell to groups:

Whether you're making sales presentations to prospects within the same company, or speeches at an industry conference, try to seek out occasions to work with large numbers of potential customers at once. The more of them you get into a room, the better your chances of getting them fired up about buying.

Seek out leaders:

We all take our cues from others, to some degree, but there are leaders who set the tone in every group. Convince them first, and most other buyers will fall in line. Learn a little bit of showmanship. By adding just a bit of flair to your sales presentations or public speaking, you make them a lot more effective. People love to be entertained a lot more than they enjoy being sold, so sprinkle in some humor and showmanship.

Learn about personality styles:

As part of my sales seminars, I have students take an in-depth look at how people make decisions differently, and what motivations lead them to buy the products and services they do. The better you understand this, the more you'll be able to appeal to the different segments of your buying group, which might include executives, support staff, front-line managers, and others who might be persuaded differently.

Accelerate the sales process:

Probably the best thing about selling to groups is that once you've persuaded them en masse, they'll tend to move quickly to take advantage by setting follow-up appointments, or even asking for the order, at the end of your sales presentation.

Personal service and one-on-one selling will always have a place in any top producers arsenal, but selling to groups - and treating your customers like sheep, if only a little bit - is a great way to close more business than ever.

By : Carl_C._Henry

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