Selling 101: What it is, what it does, and how it helps YOUR business
Selling isn’t some mystical ability or something that is reserved for people who are naturally influential. Selling is a psychological process in which both the customer and the salesperson participate – and likewise understand.
A customer’s journey starts with suspicion. “Am I going to get a good deal? Am I going to be treated honestly and fairly?” When a customer feels secure enough to engage a salesperson, an exchange of questions takes place. The customer in turn must also be asked enough questions so that the salesperson can truly understand the customer’s needs and/or concerns.
Once an understanding of the issue has been established, the salesperson must present a solution. If the solution is explained properly and thoroughly, the likelihood of closing the sale increases significantly. And, if the entire purchase process proceeds in a similar, frictionless manner, the customer experience will be improved greatly – leading to incremental (aka unplanned) and repeat purchases. And, the customer will also be much more likely to share the experience with family and friends – driving more business for you.
Presentation of a solution is a critical moment in the psychological process of selling. If the salesperson lacks confidence in the products he/she is selling, the customer will instinctively pick up on the hesitancy. If there is a surprise, such as a higher price than anticipated, a customer could stall or end the conversation. To avoid this from happening in the first place, it is imperative that salespeople are FULLY trained on all aspects of the product(s), as well as be able to express empathy for the unplanned expenses and/or hardship. Part of that empathy can stem from the sales representative's understanding of alternative financing solutions that may ease the perceived pain associated with the proposed solution. There are several companies that partner with auto repair shops that can step in to offer flexible financing alternatives to cash and traditional credit cards – thus removing most, if not all, of the perceived blockers to “closing the sale.”
To further illustrate how all of this can happen in an actual customer interaction, there are critical steps in the presentation that must happen to ensure that process continues forward. The salesperson needs to present to the customer what the solution is, what it does, and how it will help.
What it is?
Simply put, this is the name of the product, service or program, as well as the main, pertinent feature. “What I am recommending is replacing the front brake pads and rotors” is more effective than “You need front brakes.” Need is a subjective word and will raise red flags from customers who may still have any lingering suspicions, especially for a first-time customer.
What it does?
This is the most frequently missed step in the presentation. What it does is the function of the product – the process of completing the repair. For example, “I am recommending replacing the front brake pads and rotors, as they are worn out (What it is). When you step on the brake pedal, the pads squeeze the rotors – which stops the vehicle. It will take about an hour.” While to some, this may seem like overkill, this adds value while educating the customer – which reduces the potential for debate over price.
How it helps?
This is a perceived benefit to the customer. Often, salespeople will emphasize a feature, like the reduced noise associated with brake pads. But again, a feature is what the product does, not how it helps. Benefits are often found in the initial conversation when a customer visits. Likewise, the best way to connect with the customer with the problem they are reporting and the proposed solution – “With new brake pads and rotors, this will reduce the noise and vibrations you reported when the brake pedal is pushed.”
Additionally, as stated above, “what it is, what it does, and how it helps?” applies to both the product or service, but also to the ENTIRE solution, including the actual financial transaction. If a repair shop offers alternative financing solutions, the salesperson can connect the transaction to the financial burden they are facing – to demonstrate empathy and to increase the likelihood of closing the sale – and creating a great, shareable customer experience. “With the unexpected price of replacing both the brakes and rotors that we’ve agreed on, I wanted to make sure you knew about some flexible financing solutions that could help even more, giving the ability to drive off today, and not make any payments for up to 100 days. How does that sound?”
If a salesperson and the shop owner can master these three steps, provide clarity on all aspects of the repair and the actual transaction, the customer will trust the salesperson, complete the purchase and return time and time again – enabling your business to thrive both in the short and long-term.
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This article is part of the SNAP! Finance series. As more articles are released, they can be found below: