Monday, October 12, 2009

How To Convince A Skeptic To Buy Your Product

All businesses for profit must sell a product or service to remain in business. Consequently, the pressure to sell has pushed many salespeople to hype the benefits of their products and services such that many buyers have become skeptical of those claims. The new problem now facing businessmen and women is how to convince skeptics that their products can perform as advertised.

Those who are proficient in the sales community will agree that their greatest accomplishment is when they close a deal with a skeptic, who initially felt that the product or service was not all that it was trumped up to be. Examine the techniques used by the sales professionals who have succeeded in convincing skeptics to buy.
  • Know your product/service inside and out, backwards and forwards. You should know its strengths, weaknesses, and any proprietary features. Also understand the factors that influence its supply and demand. There should be nothing anyone can tell you about your product that you don't know . You will be asked questions, so be prepared to demonstrate all aspects of your product/service in your response.
  • Strive to know all you can about your target market and potential clients. Make sure you deal with the decision maker. You should know their purchasing habits: what determines their choice, and how long they take to decide to buy. When you understand how your product fits into their overall purchasing strategy, you can use it to develop a longer-term sales plan—that means repeat business.
  • Project a clear signal that you believe in what you are selling. Your passion and confidence about your product will break down the wall of doubt the skeptic has built. Failure to be persuasive in your presentation is a sure way to trigger a “no” response. Even if you are lucky to sell a product you do not believe in, you still lose because you risk killing referral business and losing the trust of your customer.
  • Too often, sales people give strong pitches with lots of hype and little information. This is done with the hope that a prospect's curiosity about the bold claims will be enough to convince him to buy. This is a common falsehood. Rather be prepared to give as much information about your product as needed to convince the prospect to make a decision to buy. Transparency builds trust and interest in your product. Things people do not understand will always be greeted with "no."
  • Gain skeptics trust by offering endorsements and testimonials from well-known sources that they respects. Often, many skeptics have bought products based on the recommendations of individuals they respect. Secure associations along these lines and look to align yourself with trusted agencies through strategic partnerships and endorsements.
  • The offer of a free trial, incentive, bargain, or guarantee can play a key role in building trust and enticing your prospect to buy. There are many variations of each, but incentives and guarantees are great ways to gain your potential buyer's confidence. Guarantees and free trails allow the skeptic to try the product before buying it. Incentives and discounts are also valuable tactics as they make the skeptics feel they are getting a value.
  • Differentiate yourself from your competitors by highlighting the qualities that make your product unique. Know the nature of your business. Is it commodity based? Is the strength of your brand a factor? By understanding your competitors’ advantages and disadvantages, and the needs of the skeptic, you can choose the most effective marketing strategy to make a sale.
  • The best salespeople not only sell products, they foster relationships. Relationships are more valuable to both you and the skeptic than a one-time transaction. For the salesperson, relationships bring repeat business from increased referrals. For the skeptics, relationships help build trust. These bonds let them know they will not be abandoned after the sale is completed. Ultimately, they are buying a relationship with you and your business, not the product, so approach selling that way.
  • The skeptic primary concern is what your product can do for him, so focus on how your product solves his problem, fulfills his need, or satisfies his desire. Take note of the difference between bottom-line selling where the focus is on how much money will be made or saved, and emotional selling where the focus is on filling an emotional void. In both cases focus on the benefits to the buyer; otherwise the skeptic will lose interest in your product.
  • Your important goal as a salesperson is to help people make informed decisions on buying. To do so, ask two types of questions: those to understand your potential buyer and her needs, and those designed to lead your prospect to buy. A series of well-placed questions will allow you to provide effective response to any objections from the skeptic.
  • Don't seem desperate. Never appear as though you need a sale. The skeptic will avoid a hard-pressed individual, on the suspicion that if the product were of a superior quality, the salesperson will not be trying that hard to sell it. Therefore, it is important that you operate from a mindset of abundance. Understand there is always a bigger sale out there, so you need not be pressed for this one. Your confidence will put the skeptics at ease and make them more likely to buy from you.
These pointers will help you successfully sell to skeptics, and if you can sell to those who initially did not want to buy your product, then you have a better chance of selling to prospects with an open mind about your product; and that means increase sales.

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