tell people what to buy

Tell people what to buy [PMP #296]

Over the weekend I visited a local hardware store to enquire about purchasing a line trimmer. This is the second time I've been to the store in the last month or so and on both occasions, I left disappointed without making a purchase. I’ve talked to two salespeople now and neither one had enough product knowledge to make a clear recommendation that would solve my problem.

What I need is for someone to understand my needs, talk me through a few viable options and make a recommendation on which option to go with. I want to feel confident that I’m making the right decision before I spend $500.

This illustrates precisely why I sell my services in the way that I do.

When someone enquires to work with me to get support with Asana or Pipedrive. I book them on an introductory call. On the call, I use the first 15 minutes to understand what they're trying to achieve, their challenges and what they are hoping to get out of working with me and my team. Then I go into my pitch. I explain that there are a few different ways to work with us. We often do very custom consulting projects, small hourly engagements or there’s also my Master Asana and Master Pipedrive programs. Coming from a marketing background I know how useful it can be to present a few different options to cater to different price points in the market and to anchor your higher-priced options as better value (a bit like when you purchase a drink from McDonald's, the larger size cup is perceived as the best value based on the price compared to the cheaper options).

Giving people options also changes the customer's mindset. If you give someone just one option to work with you the decision they have to make is “take it or leave it”. Whereas if you give them a couple of options to choose from, now their decision is “Which option should I go with?”. You’re changing the question from “Should I work with this person” to “Which option is best for me”. Giving people a few different options to choose from is also the best way to avoid leaving potential revenue on the table. You don't want to quote someone a price, which they accept, and potentially miss out on additional revenue you could have received if they have a higher budget. By giving them small, medium and large size options, you are more likely to maximise the revenue you can get from a customer.

So, having options is great! But you also need to tell the person which option to get…

Once I've presented my options, I’ll then say “I think you should get option A, because…” and I’ll give my reasoning. I will genuinely recommend the option that I think is best for their situation and budget and I don't try to oversell or get them to purchase the highest option. I just want them to get the best option for their situation. And what I find is that customers appreciate this.

Sometimes at the end of a sales call the prospect will say something like: “Okay, let me go away and think about it”. To which I will respond “Sure, let me know if there's any questions you have right now that I can answer for you or if you're not sure which option to get I would suggest…” and again, I’ll tell them what to do. Customers who go away and think about it on their own are less likely to purchase after the initial excitement that lead up to the sales call evaporates. Whereas if I make a recommendation right there and then, I tell them what to do and I can usually get them to the point where they say “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea let's get started”.

As long as I've taken them through a journey and explained their options first, this builds confidence in the prospect's mind. They feel confident proceeding because I’ve explored all the options with them, so they feel like they’re making an informed decision. By making a clear recommendation on which one is best and why, you’re saving the prospect time and energy as they’re not having to think about it themselves. People like being told what to do. Nobody enjoys ‘thinking about it’. This just means you haven’t given them enough information to make a confident decision.

So, next time you’re selling to someone, keep this idea in mind. Make sure you have options available (if you don’t already) and tell your prospect which option to go with and you’ll see an immediate difference.