Retail therapy is a term that describes the practice of buying something to make yourself feel better. Let’s face it; we love to buy.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
Why then, does it sometimes seem so difficult to sell?
My friend Kevin Malone is a former regional vice president of sales for a large company. Kevin used to tell some sellers, “You haven’t been selling; you’ve been witnessing purchases.” His intent was to indicate that the seller wasn’t working with the client correctly but was simply taking an order. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a brilliant statement, but in a very positive way. RAB teaches the Seven Steps to Selling Success. If you do the work effectively, you will always witness purchases instead of having to sell. I like to refer to it as facilitating a buying decision.
Here are eight steps to stop selling and instead facilitate a buying decision:
1. Start with why. Why are you doing your job besides the money? If it’s not to help improve the lives of your customers and help them achieve THEIR goals, you will struggle hitting your goals. The attitude must be: “How can I help improve their business?” In short, you have to CARE about your customers.
2. Identify the true need or objective of your customers. This is done through questioning, analysis and research. Find out what they are trying to accomplish.
3. Build trust and credibility as a resource that can help them meet their objectives or solve their problems. Actively listening and engaging in discussions about your customers’ needs and desires goes a long way to building credibility.
4. Present ideas and solutions to their problems. Position those ideas to help them reach their objectives.
5. Provide value BEYOND your product or service. This means looking for other ways to serve your customers that don’t cost them money. It could be as easy as sharing information.
6. Present your product or service in a way that clearly ties the value of doing business with you back to solving the customers’ problem or providing them with what they want.
7. Show your customers the emotional benefits of solving their problems or fulfilling their needs.
8. Don’t pressure them to buy. If you’ve worked effectively through the process and provided them adequate information, you won’t need closing techniques.
I’ve always believed that closing was the natural progression of a business relationship built on trust, mutual respect and an understanding of needs. When you identify the problems your customers have, and you create the right solutions for them, getting the order is simply the next logical step.
We all love to buy (and some of us don’t like to “sell”). Help your customers conclude that your products or services will help them meet their goals and objectives, and you’ll have the true pleasure of witnessing purchases or facilitating a buying decision.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.