In this article, leading sales expert Andy Preston explains the what ‘sales lessons’ we can learn from the recent petrol crisis, and how we can use them to improve our own sales figures….…..
Over the past week or so it’s been interesting to watch the behaviour of people ‘panic buying’ petrol and diesel because of potential shortages, and to watch the impact that it’s had on people generally!
Interestingly there are various ‘sales lessons’ we can learn from that kind of situation. Let’s have a look at what those are….
Sales Lesson Number 1 – People Often Follow The Majority
This is a great lesson from a ‘behavioural’ point of view. The big lesson here is that people watch the behaviour of others, and often then fall in line with the majority.
So in this case, because many people were concerned there may be a fuel shortage and started queuing at petrol stations, other people joined the queue behind them – and therefore very quickly the ‘queuing’ became the majority behaviour – which everyone else then starts doing!
So think about how you can introduce the ‘majority’ tactic into your sales efforts. Here are a couple of quick ideas for now – use language like ‘our most popular product is…’ and ‘we’ve had lots of people say how great this service is…’ as that helps ‘majority buyers’ (people that make decisions based on others) speed up their purchasing decisions!
You can also do this by including comprehensive case studies and testimonials in your sales pitches….
Sales Lesson Number 2 – Using ‘Fear’ As A Buying Motivator
This is something I see quite a lot with the ‘tougher’ sales teams and industries I work with. Most people probably first come across it from hearing a colleague do it, or from watching one of the classic sales films like Boiler Room for example.
Psychologists call this the ‘fear of loss’. What this means in reality is that many people are scared of losing something – and in some circumstances may therefore be more motivated to buy. That was certainly the case in this example, when they were scared of not being able to have any fuel to put in their cars!
In a sales context, you’ve probably heard other salespeople say things like ‘if you don’t buy today you may miss out…’ or ‘we only have a few of these left available…’ or ‘I can only hold this price until tomorrow…’
I refer to these as Time Pressure closes, Limited Availability closes or ‘Fear Of Loss’ closes. Now I know some of you may be cringing at these – mainly because people have used them on you… badly… in the past. That’s not the technique’s fault, it’s the bad delivery that’s ruined it!
They can be VERY powerful – but only if they’re used in the right way, and at the right time. I’ll explain that further in my next point….
Sales Lesson Number 3 – Build The Need First
The MOST important thing if you’re going to use a Time Pressure, Limited Availability or Fear Of Loss close is that you MUST have built the need first.
In the example of the petrol crisis that was easy as everyone already realises that they need petrol! And the thought of the lack of it was enough to spur them into buying more than they normally would – and queuing for ages for the privilege!
With your product or service however, you might not be that lucky! And here’s where using the ‘fear’ tactic causes problems.
If your prospect has already made up their mind, using the ‘fear’ tactic DOESN’T CHANGE their Buying Timescale. It only ACCELERATES their Buying Timescale.
Therefore if their decision was going to be ‘no’, you’ve just got your ‘no’ faster! If it was going to be ‘yes’, you’ve just got your ‘yes’ faster.
If however they’re still unsure, using the ‘fear’ tactic without working to build the need into an ‘essential purchase’ in their mind can actually turn their decision into a NO!
In other words, if they’re not certain they need your product or service and you say ‘you’ll need to purchase this today in order to get this price’ the buyer might think…. ‘well I’m not really desperate for it, so I’ll give it a miss on this occasion….’.
So therefore trying to ‘force’ the decision on this occasion has potentially lost you the business …… because you failed to build the need into an ‘essential purchase’ first…..
Sales Lesson Number 4 – Deal With Buyers Remorse BEFORE They Buy
The big lesson is it you want to avoid Buyers Remorse (people regretting the purchase and the complaining to you), you need to deal with it BEFORE the purchase!
This is essential to minimise refunds, complaints and people saying negative things about you, your company and your product or service – therefore having an impact on how many referrals (and how much business) you get!
In the example of the petrol crisis, think about how the people feel now. They might not necessarily be regretting buying the petrol in this particular instance, but how do they feel about the petrol stations (that increased their prices to take advantage of the perceived shortage) or the government that they blame for the crises in the first place.
In order to deal with or eliminate Buyers Remorse, the prospect has to be convinced they’ve made the right decision – even in front of other people who tell them they made the wrong one! As a couple of quick tips, re-affirm to them during the purchase that they’re making the right decision – and certainly do that as well in your customer service/follow up calls to them once they HAVE bought (you do that in your organisation, don’t you?!!)
Fail to deal with Buyers Remorse before they leave your company, put down the phone or they leave your website, and you’re leaving the risk of your complaints level being higher, your returns rate being higher, and you not being referred as much as you should be. Definitely situations to avoid if you want to keep increasing your sales figures!
Follow the tips above and watch the performance of your sales team soar! I look forward to hearing about your future success….
You can ask any questions about this article or sales in general, by contacting Andy here
About The Author:
Andy Preston is a leading Sales Expert, Trainer and Motivational Speaker
You can get Andy’s free cold calling and sales tips HERE