Change Paths as Needed
Selling is an art rather than a science. Sometimes during the buying process, prospects will make statements that aren't fully thought out and accurate. “I think I need a widget that I can use while driving.” Your task, as a collaborative seller, is to ask questions to verify or qualify that statement.
However, you may get far into the buying process based on an erroneous assumption. You may, near the close of the sale, learn that what the buyer wanted was a widget that can be operated while the car is parked. Now what?
No problem. The buying process isn't totally linear. You can make changes to the progression and even back up as needed to help the buyer solve the stated problem — even if the problem wasn't accurately stated. Once you determine what went awry, you can return to the point where facts need to be modified and move forward from there. For example:
So you'll only use it when the car is parked, and not when it is in motion? Is that correct?
Is the only difference then that you don't need the remote control feature?
So our goal is to find a widget that can be used when the car is stationary, correct?
The unit we selected can be operated in both manners, so our choice is still the best one, right? Or: This unit doesn't include the remote control feature and is identical except for a lower price. Would you prefer this one?
As a professional seller, don't be afraid to use your good judgment when guiding a prospect through the buying process. You may not need to make all of the stops along the way — as long as you have your destination clearly in mind and you are collaborating with your buyer. Your people skills will be invaluable.
How can I know where we are in the buying process?
Based on the type of product or service you are selling, develop a simple map of the most effective process for helping people buy. A retail sales map will be vastly different from that for selling truck parts to manufacturers. Once you know the buying destination and steps, you can more easily move through it without getting lost. Remember to update your map as you learn more about the buying process that's best for your customers.