Do buyers fear sellers?
Most of the times, yes. More often than not, buyers believe that sellers are determined to do anything to take their money: to apply techniques and tricks of manipulations.
Personally, I teach my students that is important to create a good atmosphere for buying, not to pressure the client to purchase something. My experience proved me right. When you have a good relationship with the buyer, they stop seeing an opponent/ adversary, but a partner/ consultant with whom they cooperate and develop a strategy/ project/ business.
Based on what I’ve said earlier, I will give you an example of an advisory sale that generated the development of a mutually beneficial project, for both parties involved (I dare to say: especially for the buyer).
Shortly after the beginning of the financial crisis, a client company asked me to attend a meeting which was proposed by a company that provided debt recovery services. I had to supervise the new employee as a Collection Manager in discussions with debt collectors.
My client had just implemented an internal debt recovery process and they were focused on getting results as quickly as possible. Although they rejected the idea of outsourcing their collection services, they still accepted the meeting, just so that the new manager could practice his negotiation skills.
Given the fact that the new Collection Manager had recently participated in one of my Negotiation courses, they asked me to supervise how the manager during the meeting.
11 o’clock, at the customer’s reception, two representatives arrived – a Sales Representative and a Key Account Manager.
They didn’t start directly with the meeting’s subject, but with an interesting small talk about the market’s forecast, transactions. The Collection Manager got involved in the discussion, brought some arguments and counter-arguments on the topic opened by the sales team; the conversation started to be less rigid.
The sales team lead the discussion to the collection process: the importance of its existence in companies, its’ efficiency and various results in different industries and in relation to different types of customers etc.
KAM presented differently each collection process based on customers’ needs: those with old debts and customers recent debts. They had even forecasted a debt recovery amount three times higher than expected from the internal process.
KAM and the Sales Representative proposed allocating a batch of customers for testing, precisely to demonstrate the veracity of what was presented.
I must remind you that the meeting had been accepted only as an negotiation exercise. During this meeting, the Collection Manager was showing reluctance to make any commitments regarding this pilot project.
The KAM and the Sales Representative used visual details to describe the process (envelopes, messages, graphics) and in terms of sales success, they relied on the Collection Manager’s interest to be noticed as being newly advanced on their position.
As benefits, they promised a more efficient implementation of the collection process and rapid changes in the financial situation (reduction of debts and increase of the cash flow).
The project started and the financial evaluation of the pilot convinced the company to expand it. From a stake-free meeting, accepted only as an exercise, we reached a business that lasted several months and brought important benefits for each party.
Are the buyers’ fears well founded?
As I said in the beginning, we manifest, at least reluctance, if not rejection, when someone offers to present us with a service, a product – we believe that the seller will receive more than what we get; that, by paying, them, we lose more than we gain. This attitude comes from experiences in which we have been assaulted and annoyed by unprepared sellers. We cannot deny their existence. The good news is that there are also sellers that treat potential customers professionally.
A good salesman knows: to identify the needs, interests and the motivations of clients; they know how to create a favourable atmosphere for buying without adding pressure on the customer; correctly identifies the buying signals and ends the sale process in a calm and warm atmosphere. In sales, the world belongs to those who are calm, honest and gentle, not those who are aggressive. Thus, the vicious circle turns into a virtuous one, and each person gains value.
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