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Avoid These Two Big Sales Mistakes

Mar 6, 2008
Two important things you must determine during the qualifying are whether your prospect has the authority to make a buying decision today, and whether they have the finances available to make the purchase.

Many salespeople assume the person they're talking to has the decision making power for the purchase. Sometimes, the person you're meeting with will give you the impression they have the authority until the last minute. Quite often, the reason for this is so they can feel important.

If your selling a product or service such as Real Estate, windows, siding, cars, or anything else to consumers, always assume the husband and wife will be in on the decision making process. Even if one of them ultimately makes the decision, they will both be in on the decision to some degree.

So, if you sell any of these types of products or services, I would recommend setting a meeting time when all decision makers will be available, and you will have their undivided attention. If you do meet with only one of them, make sure you find out if the spouse will be involved in making the final decision.

Also, don't make the mistake of assuming that if you sitting with a couple, someone else won't be involved in the decision. I had a few situations in Real Estate, where the couple needed the approval of mom and dad, or someone else, before they were able to buy.

If you're in a business setting, there is a bigger chance someone else will be involved in the purchase. Now is the time to find that out.

There is nothing worse than going through your entire presentation, getting the buyer all excited and they say, "That sounds great; however, I can't make a decision until I talk to my partner. Can you come back next week and do this again?"

So, you must understand that you need to ask a qualifying question to discover whether the person you're talking with is the only decision maker involved. Here are some examples:

"Will you be the only person driving the car? "Who other than yourself will be involved in making the final decision?" "Is there anyone else you usually consult with when making decisions of this type?"

Now you need to be prepared for the answer. Many times you will learn there are other decision makers. This can happen at any time during the sales process, so be prepared. When this happens, gently suggest that it might make sense to come up with a way to get them
involved with the proposal so they won't be caught off guard.

At this point, if you can, set up a follow up appointment to meet with all the decision makers. If a face to face meeting is not possible, say one or both are in different cities, suggest setting up a conference call so you can get them all involved and up to speed at the same time.

By suggesting such a meeting, you will also uncover any objections the prospect may have, or you may learn right then whether or not they're really interested. This will save you valuable time.

Always discuss with the original decision maker how you feel the call should be handled, and get their input as to the best way to proceed. Let them set up the day and time for the call. If you initiate the contact, it may seem too push and set up some red flags for the other decision makers.

After the call, allow all the decision makers to discuss your proposal without you there, and set up a day and time for you to get back to your initial contact. When you place the call, ask them if any one has any further questions, and then close with one of my favorite closes:

"Where do you think we should go from here"?

A few words of warning, even if the person you have been meeting with is not the decision maker, do not let your enthusiasm with this person wane. They can be an influencer and go to bat for your cause.

You have gotten this far in the qualifying process, and you've determined you have a prospect with a need and a desire to make a change. They are anxious to find a solution for the problems you have helped them uncover. Now it's time to determine if they have the finances or the budget to make the purchase.

Before proceeding any further and presenting your solution, you need to be absolutely certain the money will be there when you've closed the sales. The time to deal with money issues is now, not after you've made your presentation.

Begin qualifying a prospects' financial status by inquiring about a budget. Many prospects won't give you a budget, so try offering them solutions using price brackets. "Recently I sold two homes similar to the one you have described to me. The selling price of the homes ranged between $100,000 and $125,000.; can you see yourself making an investment in that range?"

If you're dealing in monthly payments, you can adjust these figures and the language accordingly. Knowing if the money is there to make the purchase is a critical aspect of the qualifying process. If it is, you're in position to continue on with the sales process.

If it's not, you need to back up and re qualify their needs, and what they're looking to buy based on the money they have budgeted

I understand if qualifying this way may seem foreign to you. Very few sales people sell this way, and very few sales managers and company trainers know how to train people to sell this way.

The small minority of sales people who do sell this way are the same ones who earn 100, 250 or 500 thousand dollars a year, and more. That's right; there are people who earn that kind of money in sales.
About the Author
Jim Klein helps salespeople fine tune the sales process so they can confidently close more sales and create long term relationships. Get free sales training by subscribing to our free newsletter "The Sales Advisor".
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