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I recently bought a new motorcycle, not the one I had intended to buy, but I am happy with my purchase and the fact that it was significantly less expensive than my intended purchase did not hurt.
I had intended to buy a Harley Davidson. It was an emotional decision based on the brand, my experience renting them and the fact that I could afford it. The problem began when I started to talk with the dealership. I was buying a demonstrator and had an expectation that a demonstrator would not be selling for the "list price" as a new vehicle. I had made a deposit, and when deciding to close the deal asked the question, "What are you going to do on the price, given that it's a demo?" was given the answer "Nothing".
I asked again, "The bike is a demonstrator with 500kms on it, surely you are not going to charge me full price?" The answer was "Yes".
I was emotionally invested in buying the bike.
I had made a deposit.
I had sent very clear buying signals.
I ended up walking from the deal. (The bike is still for sale 3 months later).
The salesperson did not engage me in a conversation. She had no idea what I needed to close the deal. She did not try to explain their policy. She did not offer any kind of carrot.
If she had offered some discount on accessories, or clothing or service or... something, I would probably have gone ahead.
Conversations are wonderful things... you can actually understand what people are looking for, what their "hot buttons" are, when they are likely to buy, what pain points they have, why they are looking to buy, what else they might be interested in and all kinds of fairly relevant information that can help a salesperson to guide a buyer to actually buy.
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw
Yet too many salespeople ASSUME.
They will assume they know what you want and why you want it.
They will assume that if you are asking for a discount then you must NEED one.
They will assume that if you question a contract clause then it must be a problem for you.
They will assume that because one client baulked at a price, then all clients will react that way.
They will assume that because you are a senior person you won't take time to meet with them.
They will assume ALL KINDS of things that make sense to THEM.
As salespeople we just don't know what is important to a buyer until we have a conversation.
If the Harley salesperson had engaged me in a conversation instead of shutting me down she most likely would have got a sale.
"I was so sure that I knew what they needed and what I wanted to sell them that I never stopped long enough to find out what it was they wanted to buy." Chris Murray
Ask questions... and listen! It is amazing what you might learn!
Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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