When it comes to selling your product or service, it is always a good idea to keep in mind what is most important to the other party. This is especially true when you are dealing with a large company. For example, most employees high up in the food chain of a large company make pretty good money. With that money, they have assumed a certain lifestyle. They own a big house, drive nice new cars, have a country club membership, and lots of successful friends. The last thing they want is to get fired and lose their lifestyle or admit they made a mistake. If buying your product or service is likely to make the company more money or save it money 90 percent of the time, but has a 10 percent chance of failing, most managers will choose to do nothing rather than risk losing their job over a bad decision. Their logic is nobody will know about a missed opportunity, but everyone will know about a bad decision.
As salespeople, we have the tendency to focus our messaging on the 90 percent upside and think that the manager would be a fool to not see how great our product or service is. However, the buying manager focuses on the 10 percent downside, not the 90 percent upside. I have found that highly placed managers are very defensive with their decisions. They look at all decisions from the perspective of “If I buy it and it does not work out, will I get fired?” To succeed in these selling situations, you have to offer them some sort of a guarantee that it will work or that if things go bad, they will not be the fall guy. Therefore, you need to think about selling from a defensive position instead using the standard strategies.
For instance, if the customer is not 100% satisfied, money back guarantees are pretty standard. However, customers often lose money due to costs on their end when they have to return a product, which means a simple money back guarantee may not be enough. Have you ever thought about a double your money back guarantee if your customers are not satisfied?
Sometimes you have to help the customer by creating a defensible position for the buying manager to keep his job if something were to go wrong. For example, can you encourage the company to make the decision by the committee to minimize the buying manager’s role in the decision-making process and alleviate them from any blame if things don’t go well? Can you get an audience with the buyer’s manager to demo your product or service that way you move the culpability upwards and away from the original buyer if the deal goes bad? Can you make any bad decisions invisible to the company to prevent red flags from ever being raised? For example, can you only send the invoice to the customer after they are 100% satisfied with the purchase?
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