A fundamental of human nature is that people are scared of looking foolish in front of colleagues or peers. They are afraid of making a mistake.
That also applies to making a buying decision. The more expensive or complex the product or service, the more information the prospect needs.
This process is called “The Buyer’s Journey”. It normally involves several positive contacts betwween prospect and seller before the prospect commits to buy.
That’s why typically at any given time 1-3% of prospects are “Now” buyers. The rest are split between 30% who won’t ever buy and 67% – 69% who eventually will.
When selling to these now buyers, you still need to remove their fear of making a mistake.
You do this by establishing rapport, by use of social proof and by a powerful guarantee.
You have to provide sufficient information so the prospect feels reassured they are making the right decision.
Asking open questions and listening carefully establishes rapport. It also helps the sales process in other crucial ways.
There are three things that need to happen before someone buys: there has to be a need, there has to be a want and the customer must believe your offering will satisfy both better than anyone else.
Need is logical and is satisfied by features whereas want is emotional and is satisfied by benefits specific to your customer.
Your job as a salesperson is to ensure your offering satisfies both.
So as salespeople we have to discover the need, discover and increase the want and then widen the gap between where the prospect is now and where they want to be.
By skillful questioning, listening and allowing sufficient silences you have to increase their discontent such that they visualise and feel the need to buy your product or service to close this gap.
These days you can’t sell anything unless the customer wants to buy. But you can help them make their own buying decision.
To do this you need to get them visualising owning your product or service, visualising and feeling the satisfaction of solving their issue.
Brian Tracy recommends asking “If you were ever to buy this product, even in a few years’ time, what would make you buy it?”
This question forces them to visualise having it and it also compels them to tell you what their want is.
This want is often called a “hot button” and is the reason why someone will buy.