When you hear a phrase like the hard sell, do you instantly think of car salespeople? Insurance? Replacement windows? No offense intended to those of you in one of those three industries!
While someone's reference to a hard sell may differ, the perception of the hard sell is fairly universal. After prospects state an objection, say they're not interested, or tell the salesperson, "No," prospects tend to raise their resistance. Most salespeople have been trained to handle these objections and put-offs and therein lies the problem. There are proper and effective ways to handle these, and there are improper and ineffective ways to handle these. When you use the wrong approach it will appear to the prospect as if you are using the hard sell and their resistance will go up even further.
Most salespeople think that the hard sell consists of arm-wrestling, hammering or pressuring their prospect. While all three of those approaches are variations of the hard sell, most salespeople overcompensate so much that they wouldn't be caught dead using them. Instead, salespeople are guilty of the hard sell when they aren't aware of it. All it takes to be perceived of using the hard sell is to attempt any of the following ten things in response to a prospect's increased resistance:
- Recite talking points
- Attempt to overcome an objection
- Share product features
- Explain the benefits
- Tout their capabilities
- Use logic to make a point
- Make the prospect wrong
- Try to close after a prospect says, "No" or "Maybe."
- Attempt to continue the conversation after hearing, "Not interested" or "We're all set."
- Fail to listen to the prospect and continue talking instead
That's right, most of you, without realizing it, are guilty of what you try so hard to avoid, the hard sell. It's not so much that you are using the hard sell, as it is your prospect perceives it as the hard sell.
So what can you do instead?
Lower. Their. Resistance. Watch this very short video about lowering resistance.
Lowering resistance must always be your first order of business.
Phrases like, "You're right," "I understand," "I agree," "Makes sense," and "Of course" all work fairly well. And then you should ask permission to ask a question. Just make sure that you don't do any of the ten things I listed above!
The actual question you ask is less important than whether or not you ask one. Your question should be based on something you just heard, like, "You just said that you don't think this is something that you need. Can you tell me why you feel that way?"
Managing and recovering from resistance is the real art of selling.
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