Preemptive admissions create a halo effectWritten by Tom Richard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Do restaurants with clean restrooms have better tasting food? One thing is for sure, no matter how good your food tastes, one visit to a disgusting restroom changes everything about your dining experience, including the taste of your food.
If the restroom is dirty, you are forced to start asking yourself what other dirty little secrets are hiding in the kitchen, the food-prep area or underneath the cook’s fingernails.
The opposite is also true. When you see an impressive restroom, your opinion of everything improves. You may call it the halo effect, or you may call it the power of a positive impression. No matter what you call it, everything is connected.
Salespeople try to create this positive impression by making everything sound great. No matter what they are asked, salespeople try to spin their words into a complimentary response. Left unchecked, salespeople will sprinkle delicious explanations on your proposal like a waiter with a fresh pepper mill staring at you waiting for the cue to stop grinding away.
Clients do not want unsubstantiated garnish, and most salespeople are incapable of straight talk. If you don’t believe me, just ask a salesperson to say something positive about their competition. It is like asking them to speak Mandarin. They will just stare at you with an adorable look of confusion. Try it. It’s fun.
Yes, everybody trains their employees to recite all of the wonderful things about the products they sell, and this is fine, but it is equally important to teach them how to think like a consumer, to understand the positive things about competition and to truly understand the other viable options clients can choose from. This helps an employee learn how to give a straight answer.
Avoiding a straight answer, no matter how unflattering the response, is like having a dirty restroom in a wonderful restaurant. You may dance around objections, dodge tough questions and redirect the conversation all you want, but you’re leaving your client wondering what else they’re missing.
You may even start off the conversation by pointing out areas you normally would avoid. Yes, we do charge for delivery. No, we do not waive the fees. Yes, you will find our prices are 20 percent higher than our competition. Boom. The air is clear.
With the air cleared, you have done a few different things. Your preemptive admissions demonstrate absolute honesty to your client, they cast you as a straight shooter and they prevent you from being seen as a winded showman.
Clearing the air also prompts your client to ask questions. Instead of you dreading the price conversation, your client will ask you why you are 20 percent higher than the competition. When the client is the one asking the question, he or she is genuinely curious to hear (and understand) the answer.
Preemptive admissions are only effective when stated with confidence and pride. They are effective because they allow the conversation to focus on the strength and validity of the ideas in a proposal, rather than the minor details such as fees, charges and prices.
Think of it as flipping your sales conversation around so you are starting at the end and working your way back to the beginning. There is plenty of time at the end to talk about bowling trophies and football, and you’ll have more fun doing it with a signed contract on the desk.
Tags: selling points