The Psychology of Sitting Down
Many companies miss out on a golden opportunity to build rapport and increase value during the fact-finding process because they insist on having salespeople stay "out on the lot" until the customer is ready to talk price. In fact, there are still managers who threaten to fire salespeople for sitting down with a customer unless it’s time to negotiate.
But this mentality is costing you money and here’s why:
Sitting down and asking questions without pressure early in the sales process reduces tension and makes it easier to get customers to talk price later.
Research proves that customers prefer a more relaxed and open environment to discuss their purchase. Here are some guidelines you should consider:
- Avoid fact-finding in typical sales offices. Open cubicles are preferred because they put customers at ease
- If you must use an office, never, ever close the door
- Offer the customer a refreshment before you begin
- Put your cell phone on “silent” and do not take other calls during your conversation
Provide an overview first
Whether you’re sitting down or beginning to fact find on the lot, it’s important you provide the guest with an overview that includes the following:
- Your desire to focus on what is important to the customer and their needs
- Your desire to take notes and ask questions
- How long it will take
-Get your customer’s agreement to continue
So here’s what that might sound like:
“As I mentioned, I’d like to ask you a few questions about what’s important to you. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take some notes so I don’t miss anything. This should only take a few minutes. Is that okay?”
The way a customer perceives your listening ability has more to do with “how” you act than the words you use. That means the way you position yourself, how you react to their comments and the way you take notes, is critical to proving your listening ability.
Here are some guidelines:
-Sit alongside the customer if possible, not across the desk
-Sit up straight. Only lean back if the customer assumes a similar posture
-Maintain appropriate eye contact. Avoid staring down at your note pad all the time
-Take a conversational approach. Smile, laugh and show the customer you’re enjoying the experience.
By practicing these behaviors, customers will know you are paying attention to their needs and this will help you achieve the desired results.
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