Selling has always two parties: the seller meets the suspicious but helpless buyers and together they build a social interaction.
This interaction is bi-directional, because both of the two parties have different goals and try to find a common understanding.
Consumers enter a shop at least with a interest to find out more about a certain product. Because they do not possess sufficient information to take a founded decision they consult the seller. And of course the seller has the objective to convince the consumers to buy the product.
How does selling work?
So both parties come into discussion: consumers listen and ask questions and take decisions based on stereotypical characteristics of a product or by comparing many product alternatives according to a single characteristic – this is a subjective characteristic and is named anchor. In this time the seller tries one` s very best to give suitable arguments and to convince people that they make the best choice of their life. Therefore sellers try to change buyers`attitudes they have for certain products.
What is the difficult part? Well, changing of concepts can be very difficult, depending on how much people are hanging on them.
- One good strategy in this case can be not to question people`s concepts, but to give good arguments, which will make them to buy.
- Selling discussions are similar to a ritual: you can benefit as a seller from breaking this habits by requesting something form the other part – this should come surprisingly. You can also add a logical explanation to your request: “Can you please do/make …, because…” would be a suitable formula. For example if you see that the consumer is interested in a product, you can say beside the details you give “If there are similar/new products on the market, you can leave a contact address and we can send them to you.” Use this to your own advantage, and adapt it to different selling situations.
- Do not resume to a single contact with the buyers, try to build a relationship with them. For example, if they decide to buy something, give them a discount coupon for the next time, but also a possibility to leave you feedback about their buying experience.
- Try to observe how motivated buyers are to buy:
a) The more involved they are, the more you should focus on giving them logical arguments for convincing them to buy. This is the case, you observe that the buyer takes actively part in the discussion and is very interested on taking the best alternative.
b) If buyers are value oriented they might face inner conflicts between values und things. Those buyers are usually emotional, they will confirm friendly what you say or will argument very complicated.
- A great importance plays also the mood they are in: happy buyers, in a positive mood are less critical and easier to convince than buyers in a neutral mood. Those buyers in a negative mood are the most critical and analyze your arguments in a greater detail.
- If you make a reference to a own experience, people will proceed this information referring to the product in a more intensive manner.
A seller`s characteristics to be successful in selling
- know facts about products you sell (-> Which ones are high-qualitatively and still price attractive?)
- find quick successful solutions
- remember decisions from the past, ability to make quick decisions
- self-confidence of having made the suitable decision
- motivation for high performance
- self-observation of own person during the selling discussion
- love the challenge of solving problems
- high empathy and adaptability: seller who are attentive to nonverbal signals of the buyers have higher successes
- Titles and awards make a seller to be perceived as more trustful
- Sellers, who have a baby-face and talk with a pleasant voice, modulate their voice and its pace, speak clearly and use their mimics and gesture to sustain this are more convincing; using a high response speed does not permit the buyer to give critical arguments and shows competency.
- Women are more convincing to men when they give their arguments in phases; when they talk to other women they should be more dominant in their speech.
- If the seller is more similar to the buyer it influences the selling success positively, because similarity evokes sympathy. Similarity can be personal but also in attitudes, culture or passions.
- Beautiful sellers do not need to apply many convincing strategies, people imitate and adopt their attitudes according to the Halo-Effect “what is beautiful is also good”.
How should the selling discussion be structured?
Always adapt to the buyer`s behavior! Listen actively to what one says, search always for information and be flexible!
- Be informed: What are the buyers `needs and attitudes? What are the product features? What are the benefits of a product? What are the advantages and disadvantages of certain product alternatives?
- Be attentive to the discussion dynamics: a discussion has 3 different stages – a orientation phase, a appraisal phase and a conclusion phase.
- Orientation Phase: Which opinions do clients have about certain goods?
- Appraisal Phase: Seller informs about advantages and disadvantages of brands, size, technical characteristics or pricing levels.
- Conclusion Phase: Information about sending and payment modalities.
- Take your time: 2/3 of the time you should take for yourself for delivering your rational arguments. You feel it if the selling discussion was successful, the atmosphere detensions and everyone feels relaxed.
- Be personal: Use a personal approach, speak directly to the buyer, speak in their language, adapt yourself to the discussion stages, confirm that the buyer has taken the right decision for him/her and if possibly inform yourself after the selling if the consumers are also content with the bought product.
- Be polite: Use “please try” for encouraging people to buy! People will not feel forced to buy the product. Do not put people under pressure or frighten them! Repeat arguments in the same wording for a product for more times – people will improve their concept towards this product according to the “mere exposure effect”. Make little surprises within the discussion: for example give people something for free, invite them to a coffee or similar things. They will appreciate this and want to give you something back for it.
- Use selling techniques: Get inspired by 8 most common strategies salespersons use to make you buy.
Selling is an art, but you can learn the one or other strategy to improve yourself. You take the most out of it, if you put the strategies into practice. So I would be really curious to find out, which strategies you have tried out? Which ones worked for you? Which experiences do you have in selling, which you can share here?
Use the comment field below to give some insights!
If you want to find out more about this topic, I recommend you to have a look at:
- Kirchler, E. (2011). Wirtschaftspsychologie. Individuen, Gruppen, Märkte, Staat. 4. vollständig überarbeitete Auflage. Hogrefe: Göttingen.