Influence With Ease: Top Five Selling Bloopers

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How to avoid the blunders that can cost you a sale.

In the world of tire retailing, it’s not always a shortfall in a product, price, or service that ruins a potential sale. Often it’s inadvertent comments that put customers off just enough for them to choose your competitor.

Unfortunately, sales reps are usually unaware they commit these offences, so they keep repeating them. See if you or your team members ever make these top five selling gaffes.

1. Insulting their intelligence

You need to enter a buying conversation presupposing that your customer is an intelligent, well intentioned grown-up. Your comments should include a healthy dose of, “You probably already know…” and exclude phrases that make your customer feel uneducated or uninformed.

2. Not listening

Contrary to popular opinion, the most important part of a sales pitch is not your value proposition. The most important part of a pitch is demonstrating your understanding of that specific customer’s unique circumstances.

That requires asking pointed questions that help customers see for themselves what they really need. Then, verify your understanding with statements like, “Sounds like you…(summarizing their situation).”

3. Insulting the competition

If your potential customer is currently buying tires elsewhere, be careful not to criticize the competition. After all, the customer decided to do business with them. So slamming the competition is tantamount to telling the customer that he or she made a bad choice. (See point #1—insulting the customer).

4. Ignoring objections

If you propose a solution that ignores a customer’s objection or concern, you are essentially saying that you weren’t listening (see point #2—not listening). That requires being transparent in how your proposal either addresses their concerns, or provides extra value that could outweigh their concerns. The key is we shouldn’t pretend that we didn’t hear or don’t value their initial objections.

5. Being a know-it-all

It takes time and effort to gain trust. Yet it’s so easy to lose. It happens when we stray out of our own area of expertise and claim to be an expert in areas we’re not.

Ironically, one of the easiest ways to gain trust is to quickly admit ignorance about anything the customer seems to know a lot about. Showing respect by deferring to your customers’ knowledge and expertise helps them become more receptive to yours.

Bottom line—Effective selling has less to do with pushiness and manipulation, and more to do with good manners and respect. Talk less. Listen more. Allow your competitors to blunder their way out of their customers’ good graces and send them into your capable hands. Here’s to you not dropping the ball.

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