“Tell me why I should buy from you?”
When the vice president of a prominent New York City based perfume manufacturer put that challenge to me (earlier in my career), it was about why he should buy my T-shirt for his huge promotion, rather than one of the sample garments he had piled desk-high from my competitors.
I smiled, opened my briefcase and threw him a piece of fabric in the exact shade of their corporate color. I said “That pile of shirts behind you is all samples of what THEY make. My worthy competition is selling you their shirt with your imprint. We make the garment YOU want. We start with the finest interlock fabric, dye it to your color, cut and sew it to your measurements, and imprint it to your exact specifications.”
“How do you know what size a “medium” is? How wide is the body?” I said as I casually showed him a few of my fully sewn garments in each size so he could see the difference in body width and style of construction – different stitching, different neck cuts, different sleeve cuts. I continued as he began to lean forward and pay attention. “What’s the price?” he semi-demanded. “Forty-two fifty a dozen.” I zapped back.
“Forty-two fifty a dozen!” He screamed. “Your competition is $36.00 or less.”
“Oh, You want those crappy shirts – we can sell you those for thirty-two fifty a dozen.” I quipped with a smile. “But if you’re looking for something your customers will wear with the same pride as they wear your perfume, I recommend you invest in the quality of the product, not the price.”
“How personalized can you make it?” he challenged. “Order 5,000 dozen and we’ll put in your own label.” I said without hesitating a split second. “What would you do for 8,000 dozen?” He dangled the carrot. “Put them in individual polybags at no additional cost.” I dangled back with a big smile.
“When do you want delivery?” I closed.
“Twelve weeks.” He smiled.
“When can I get a purchase order?” I said in the firmest voice I could muster.
“How about now?” He said straight faced. “Now would be fine.” I said with every bit of my innards jumping for joy but outside still giving the cool cucumber look.
And I sat there as he wrote me the PO and shoved it across the desk. Victory, baby. Victory. (Yes, I admit I did the calculator thing: $42.50 times 8,000 times my commission.)
The Lesson: How did I make that sale? I made the sale because I was different, creative, willing to take a risk or two, and perceived to be more valuable than my competition.
“Why should I buy from you?” Every prospect asks that question either verbally or silently. If there’s one question you must be perpetually ready to answer, it’s that one. Here are the 7.5 elements that made my sale possible, and I challenge you to see how many of those elements you are using when your prospect “pops the question.”
1. I Knew I was up against others with the same product, so I went in with a different approach and what I felt was a winning idea. That one won. They all don’t win. But you have to walk in with ideas.
2. I had all the answers to his objections pre-prepared. I knew what all the objections were. So do you. Have them answered in advance or lose to someone who does.
3. I had a surprise (the piece of cloth rather than the shirt). People like surprises.
4. I had a higher price and a reason to buy it. My reason was not just greater quality, it was also greater personalization.
5. I was sure of my answers at every turn – I knew my product and I knew my deal-making-parameters before I walked in the door.
6. I created the visualization of a successful outcome. People buy with an outcome in mind. Your job is not to know your product and your capabilities. It’s to get the prospect to se the successful result of purchase.
7. I knew the buying signals when they were offered. After he dropped the price objection, he asked the questions with the “intent to buy,” not the “intention to know.” Big difference.
7.5 I assumed I had the sale from the start, and asked for it when it was time to ask. “When is the right time?” you ask. Boy I wish I knew the stock answer for that one. That’s why this is the .5 part of the list. You need to trust your instinct. The secret is in the preparation. The more prepared you are when you enter the door, the more you will “feel” when the time is right, Luke.
May the sale be with you.
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Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org