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Sometimes you have to slow down to get the sale

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Have you ever been in a situation where the prospect expressed a little bit interest in your product or service and you pushed too hard, too soon in order to close the sale? What happened to the prospect? Usually this approach brings up the prospect’s defenses and they either fight or flee. When a salesperson tries to get the prospect to commit too early, it can derail the sale even if they are interested in your product or service.
One way to illustrate this point is to look at a dating example. Let’s pretend you went on a blind date and you both think it went well. At the end of the evening when you were saying goodbye, your date says, “next time we get together can I ask you a favor and can you introduce me to your parents. For most of us it would eliminate any thoughts of wanting a second date. The reason is that the other person tried to go too fast too early in the relationship.
Just like in real life, in sales, if we go to fast we can actually scare the prospect away.
Here are four ways to make sure we don’t go too fast, too soon and lose the sale.
Suppress your desire to sell up-front
This may seem simple but I am amazed when I run into sales people who can’t wait to tell you how great their product or services are before asking even a few simple questions up-front. What does the prospect think he or she needs? What features and benefits are the most important to them? Are they committed to buy something now? Suppress your desire to sell and find out about the prospect before you tell them about your product or service.
Let the prospect suggest the next steps
Many times salespeople assume what the next step should be in the sales process and push too quickly and scare the prospect away. One way to avoid this is to ask the prospect what he or she thinks is the next best steps in the process to evaluate whether or not they should buy. By asking the prospect you can gauge their “real” level of commitment. If the prospect gives you vague or inconclusive next steps it is probably because they have an unspoken objection we need to uncover.
Take it away
One of the best ways to see where they are in the buying process is to take the sale away. If you feel like the prospect starts bringing up a lot of objections or is moving away from the sale, take it away to see where they really are. Say something like, “It sounds like if we don’t overcome your objection, it will be over?” At a minimum you will get the prospect to tell you the truth. Generally, if you push harder when the prospect starts bringing up objections, the prospect will tend to push back or shut down.
The thermometer close
Throughout the sales process take your prospect’s temperature. In the Sandler Sales methodology we teach a simple but powerful technique called the Thermometer Close. At key points in the sale ask the prospect, “On a scale of one to 10, one being not close and 10 being a perfect fit, how close are we to providing you with the right solution? This will tell you how close you are to closing the business. When the prospect tells you they are a “10”, the prospect has closed the sale.
If you can be disciplined to slow things down and suppress your excitement to sell too soon it will help keep the prospect comfortable throughout the sales process. At the end of the day instead of selling, you will be helping people buy.