Last week a salesman  approached me while I was working in my yard.  He was selling house painting services and asked me if I was interested in getting my house painted and I said “Yes.”  But then he made a mistake that allowed me to take over and lead the conversation.  He began to speak to me as if I was ready to sign on the dotted line.  In this case, I led him on and left him surprised when he couldn’t close the deal.  His error?  He mistook my curiosity as motivation to buy what he’s selling.  This stumble on his part allowed me to gather information I wanted without any real intention of buying.

Here are 3 ways buyers, in this case, me, manipulate the salesperson and then leave them disappointed when they can’t close the deal.

  1. Dangling False Carrots. –  These are statements like “I’m interested, I’m looking for information, I’m having a problem with”.. These declarations draw the seller in.  They think they have a hot lead but really the buyer may only be looking for information.  In my case, I’d thought about painting my house from time to time but I wasn’t ready any time soon, I was just curious.  I began asking questions and getting information from the seller. I asked questions like, how long does it take, what should I paint, who does the actual painting.  I was asking all the questions and he was doing all the talking.  Who was in control of the process now?  Not him.
  1. Asking for Prices first  – When the buyer is in control this question enters early.  I was curious how much his great service was going to cost.  This guy spent a 1 ½ hours working up a quote.  He was satisfying my curiosity.  He asked no qualifying questions, he was giving me information for free.  Why wouldn’t I take it?  When finished with the quote, he gave me a great presentation as to why I would use his company and testimonials from “neighbors” who’d used their service.  It all sounded great and the price seemed fair and reasonable.
  1. Delaying Rejection–I wasn’t ready to commit so I ended the conversation with the dreaded “Let me think about it”.  Even though I knew there was a slim chance that I was going to purchase, I couldn’t bring myself to tell him.  I thought he was a nice guy and I didn’t want to let him down. I got what I wanted, a quote.  Something to use as a benchmark for when I’m really serious about painting my house.  Something I can use to negotiate a better price with another painter.  He got what?  A couple hours chasing a sale that wasn’t going to happen and an “I’d like to think it over.”

He followed up a few days later just to ultimately hear “no”.   What could he have done differently?  Manage his defined sales process with checkpoints.  A sales process that defines what  you need to know from the buyer before sharing information or moving to the next step.  Without a defined process the buyer’s process or the competitions’ takes over and draws the seller in.  If you have you ever heard, “I need to think it over” from a buyer, that’s a sure sign your sales process needs some adjustment.

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