What motivates you to buy?

“John” was having difficulty converting his warm prospects into clients so I was asked to observe for areas where improvement may be made. The best place to begin for reviewing any sales process is to think about what motivates you to buy. Generally speaking the same will be true for your intended clientele.

Most likely the answers include:
– You like the person selling
– You have a need for what is being offered
– You trust the salesperson because he understood your personal motivation

As one qualified prospect after another met with John, they were greeted with genuine kindness and enthusiasm but the relationship building stopped there. The question as to why the potential client agreed to meet was never asked. John did not seek to find where their initial interest might be or if they had any familiarity with the company or products offered. These omissions prevented gaining any insight on the people or what their individual needs might be.

By asking questions throughout the meeting, you are more easily able to develop a trusting relationship because it demonstrates your concern for the client-to-be. The questions also develop a two-way dialogue versus simply telling-selling, and unfortunately, the latter is what I observed.

Are you aware that people learn in 3’s? Once you know where your prospect’s interests lie, it is best to present only three options upfront. More than that will confuse people. Overly exuberant, John was focusing on 6 and 7 possibilities for each. And because he covered so much information, John rushed through each brochure never stopping to make certain it was understood or if the person opposite him was even interested.

It was evident those in front of him had a difficult time listening to all of his input, as helpful as it might have been. Instead of agreeing to any of his offers, most chose to walk away with the brochures instead. “Walk away” are the key words for what transpired that day.

There is a very important reason why seasoned sales professionals ask questions of their potential clients. As the right questions are asked in the correct order, your prospect begins to agree with what you have to say. One of the first questions is to ask where their interest lies so that you may first address what is of most importance to them. Can you think of anyone who would not be appreciative of this? This is the first step to building the relationship and the trust.

The goal is to acquire 3-5 mini agreements with what you have to say. Gradually, your prospects begin to see the value of your offer and will talk themselves into buying from you. Having skipped this process, John had a difficult time that day. Likewise, some of his prospects skipped out the door.

The end result is when you strive to understand your prospect’s perspective first, you will encourage larger sales, repeat business, referrals and testimonials – all of which will put you on the wave of the Smooth Sale!


Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, (800) 704-1499; was designated as a “Top 25 Sales Influencer for 2012.” Elinor authored the International Best-Selling book, “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, Sourcebooks and best selling, “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews”, Career Press.

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