Let Them Buy

Where does sales resistance come from and how do you avoid it?

There’s an old saying that goes something like this; “people love to buy but they hate to be sold.” The funny thing is that everyone, that doesn’t understand sales, thinks that selling is about getting someone to do something. It’s not.

Sales resistance is created when you as a salesperson try to sell whatever it is you have to offer. The harder you try to sell the more resistance you create. The solution is simple to state but hard to master. Stop selling.

Because sales has such a bad reputation prospects have a natural defense process they use to protect themselves from being sold things they don’t want. The problem is that the moment they think they are being sold anything they launch the defenses even if it’s something they want.

For example; what did you say the last time you walked into a clothing store and were approached by someone that worked there when they asked you, “Can I help you?” If you’re like 99% of the population you said “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Really? Don’t get me wrong I know some people actually like to look at clothes but aren’t you really there looking for something to buy?

My daughter worked for a popular clothing retailer when she was 17 and she was the number one salesperson in the whole company out of 197 stores. She did that by helping people buy.

Would you like to know what she did to make that happen?

Knowing the typical response to the question “Can I help you?” which, she tried to begin with, wasn’t going to help sales I asked her what people do ask for if they ask for anything. So she thought about it and told me they just about always ask where things are located more often than anything else.

With that in mind I asked her how well she knew her store’s inventory and where things where at in the store. She let me know she knew where everything was and that she was also taking the time to learn about the different brands and material they carried so if asked she would know what she was talking about. (In other words she did her homework and knew her products)

With that information I suggested she greet people when they come in by saying “Hello, welcome to “store” my name is “name”, (without pausing say) most people ask me where things are so if you’re looking for anything in particular just ask because I know where everything is and I can help you find it. (pause) So just let me know OK.”   (Then, I told her to wait for just a moment and then start to turn and move to doing something else nearby)

What happened is that more people were open to the suggestion for help and would go ahead and ask. When they did she would take them to the right place in the store. (Notice, she didn’t just say “You can find those over there” and point. She took them to the exact thing they were looking for.

From there she would help them by finding and recommending things that coordinated with the outfit or whatever was appropriate. This approach virtually eliminated their sales resistance because the genuinely felt she was there to help while doubling or tripling the average order.

So, what can you learn from this and apply it to whatever it is you sell? Start with the beginning. How do you begin your first conversation with your prospect? Are you trying to sell them something before they’re ready or are you there to help them buy? One is an act of taking the other is an act of giving. Is there a different way you could approach what you are doing? In other words; how could you start giving your prospects the opportunity to buy instead of trying to sell them what you have?

When you stop selling the natural byproduct is for resistance to fall. If you do find yourself falling into your old patterns and you sense resistance rising up in your prospect stop selling and ask them a question that will help you understand their situation or needs better. When you do you will find resistance drops and sales increase.

Do you see how this can apply to your particular situation? Do you have questions about how to apply this? If so, leave a comment. Also do me a favor and share this so others can read it as well.

About the Author Mike McMahon

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