#1 Sales Hindrance . . . Are You A Victim?

Posted by on Apr 7, 2016 in Featured, Sales Training, Salescafe | Comments Off on #1 Sales Hindrance . . . Are You A Victim?

#1 Sales Hindrance . . . Are You A Victim?

The #1 hindrance to a sales representative during a sales interaction is that they mistake mild interest for a desire to act on a need and begin providing too soon. The result . . . resistance!

Sales representatives tend to skip an important phase that fully develops the customer’s need and creates motivation to act. It is the tipping point in the decision-making process.  To fully develop the need, you need to use effective probing skills that not only identify customer needs:  they motivate the customer to act, NOW!

To plan and sell successfully, you need to understand the mental process the customer will go through when making a decision.  Customers make decisions in logical and predictable steps.  These steps can be identified as the five phases of the decision-making process:  attention, interest, conviction, desire, and action.

To be effective, the sales representative needs to manage this mental process by using the appropriate selling skill for where the customer is in the process.  This will facilitate moving the customer toward making a decision to act on the sales representative’s recommendation.

The first phase is ATTENTION.

This is when a Customer starts the process of deciding and begins to focus on a potential need.  At this point they have a vague sense that something should change and there is a low sense of urgency about doing anything.  Just that something could be done differently.  The question in this phase is:

Will I see and listen to the sales representative?

Your action:  Gaining the customer’s attention depends mainly on the how you focus and appeal to the customer’s decision motivation and explicit need(s).  A well designed and delivered Approach Statement gains the customer’s attention and earns you the right to proceed with the call.

The second phase is INTEREST, mild interest!

In this phase, the customer is determining whether they really have a need to be addressed and still do not know if they really need to do something to satisfy the need.  They are not motivated to act.  The question in this phase is:

Do I have a need?

Your action:  Analyze Needs.  Ask probing questions that identify and focus on identifying the customer’s explicit need(s) and determine the customer’s primary decision motivation.

It is not enough that the customer has a need(s).  They may even agree that a need exists!  However, until that need(s) is strong enough to act on, the customer will take no action on the sales representatives solution(s) to satisfying that need(s).  This is why skipping the next phase or approaching the next phase creates the #1 hindrance.

The third phase is CONVICTION.

This is the phase in which they begin to realize the importance of satisfying their need.  They can no longer afford to keep doing the same thing.  They are becoming motivated to act.  The question in this phase is:

Do I care enough about the need to act?

Your Action:  You need to increase the customer’s awareness for the need to act.  There are only two ways to do this.  You either tell the customer the importance of satisfying the need or you let the customer tell you.  Typically, salespeople tell the customer the importance rather than ask.  The result  . . . RESISTANCE!  Through questioning, you can help the customer realize the value and importance in taking an action to fill the need(s) and the possible problem(s) created by not taking an action. This will motivate the customer to take action, NOW!

The fourth phase is DESIRE.

In this phase, the Customer fully recognizes they have a need they need to act on.  They are motivated to do something.  They are now trying to determine what they need to do to satisfy the need and are truly ready to hear about the attributes and merits of the product and will listen attentively to the sales representative’s solution to their need(s).  The question in this phase is:

Does this product or service satisfy the need?

Your Action:  At this point, the customer is truly ready to hear about the attributes and merits of the product or service.  For you, this is the time to start building value in the eyes of the customer for using your product or service. You will need to link the benefits of your product or service to the explicit need(s) and the decision motivation of the customer you identified in the Interest phase and the Conviction phase of the decision-making process.

The final phase is ACTION.

At this point, he is ready to make a commitment to the solution to his need(s) and has determined that a particular product or service will satisfy their need(s) and they will benefit from choosing a particular product or service.  They are ready to act.  The question in this phase is:

Will I use the product?

Research indicates that even when the customer is convinced that the solution will satisfy his needs, only twenty percent of the time will they act on their own. Eighty percent of the time the customer will wait to be asked to make a commitment to act.

Your Action:  This is the phase you worked so hard to get to.  You need to suggest a course of action for the customer to take and then ask a question to gain a commitment to that action (close!).

One thing to note is that a customer can be in any phase of the decision-making process when you walk through the door.  Through effective probing you will need to determine where they are in the decision-making process and adjust your sales call accordingly.


You can contact J.P. Thompson at jpt@ascenticg.com

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All content © 2016 by J.P. Thompson, CHt, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.