Sales pitch only a small part of the buying decision
by Jeffrey Gitomer
Published: February 14,2005
We were at our conference table making a big sale. A seven-figure sale. Big enough? Big enough to follow the sequence of what happened?
Let me begin by saying our “selling” was only 25% or less of the total impact of their desire to purchase.
And let me add that it’s the same for you in your selling situations.
What matters are their MOTIVES to buy. And I had the rare opportunity at the end of the sale to have my customer reveal his motives (his decision-making process) to me in detail.
CAUTION ONE: This lesson will not be a be-all-end-all solution. BUT, it WILL take you into the mind of the buyer, the decision maker, and reveal how he takes your sales information and converts it to a purchasing decision.
CAUTION TWO: You will have to convert and adapt some of the lesson to your product or service. Our product is online training — customized, Internet-based learning that is available 24/7 to an individual — who is completely accountable to and coached by his or her manager.
We started our meeting with the traditional questioning. I try to uncover areas of opportunity by assessing present situations, past failings, existing game plans, current strategies and immediate goals.
If a buyer has a need, there are specific reasons for it. And my job is not to just uncover them. My job is to create ideas and solutions that the prospective customer will feel comfortable with-comfortable enough to buy. Same with you.
BUT shrewd buyers will almost never reveal their deep feelings or motives. The “motive” is the reason BEHIND the situation that will cause them to buy or pass.
I also try to get them to ask questions without prompting. The more they ask, the more I believe they are interested.
We had long since reached the point of “friendly” in the conversation, so I felt at ease to ask anything without fear of “losing.”
About halfway through my presentation, I noticed one of the buying group (there were three of them and two of us) writing furiously on a yellow pad. “Taking copious notes?” I inquired casually. “Yes, I have developed a method of determining if we should make a purchase. I always use it when the deal is sizable.”
“Will you share it with me?” I asked innocently.
“Sure, if we decide to purchase from you,” he said with a smile.
Two hours later, they agreed in substance to purchase. Needing only a budget addition and a CEO blessing, our new customer was ready and willing to share his formula for making a buying decision. And I was all ears and laptop.
What followed was the most open and informative dialogue I have ever had with a customer. What I recommend is that you take a close look at his purchasing criteria and apply it to whatever you sell.
My customer started out by saying that he had a list of “purchase-criteria” questions, that when answered, made the decision to buy evident. But before he put down any answers, he outlined the existing situation to make sure all the information he had was relevant.
Here are the questions:
• What do you offer?
• What do you offer that no one else has?
• What do you offer of value?
• Does it really fill my need?
• Is it real world?
• Will it work?
• Will it work in our environment?
• How will it impact our people?
• How could it impact our success?
• Will senior or executive management buy in?
• Will my people use it?
• How will we produce as a result of the purchase?
• How will we profit as a result of the purchase?
• Do I trust the people I’m buying from both as people and for their ability to deliver what they promise?
• How will it come together?
• How do we buy it?
• Do I have the comfort to sign off now?
Once these questions are answered, and the answer to buy is “yes,” then he makes a plan to implement the purchase BEFORE he leaves the meeting.
Wow! If you ever wanted to know what went through a purchasing prospect’s mind, I just revealed THE list — the golden list.
Now the question is: How do you apply this gold to your sales? And the answer is simple: Make certain you incorporate the answers to these questions in your sales presentation.
Simple? Yes. Easy? No. This is a complex process that must be studied, practiced, implemented and refined. And let me promise you that the hard work will pay off — in hard cash.
There’s one more secret, but I’m out of space. If you want to know what motivates a salesperson to sell, go to www.gitomer.com — register if you’re a first time user — and enter MOTIVATE In the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
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