"A lot of times sellers don't have a process to deal with the buyer's process," said Chris Bugg, owner and operator of Sandler Training in Virginia Beach.
On Thursday, March 12, the Hampton Roads Chamber held the Chamber Education Series “Stop Telling & Start Selling”. Bugg trains and develops sales professionals using the skills he honed training and developing Navy fighter pilots.
Bugg opened with a proposition meant to spur much debate. "When a prospect tells me they want to 'think it over,' what they mean more than 75% of the time is that they really have no intention to buy from me." Bugg's presentation and discussion provided a process for dealing with the 'think it over.'
The 'think it over,' Bugg notes, can be the most harmful answer to sellers' ears. We want to hear yes, and no is emotionally painful, but 'think it over' is a waste of our time. Hearing "I'll think it over" is much more common than we'd like it to be. Bugg remarks that buyers tend to stick with what they know. "It's an emotional thing. So you need to focus on better ways [than being sales focused] to get them to defect" from the competitor and come buy from you.
Bugg wove throughout his presentation several group exercises or "simulations" that prompted in-depth debate and forced the attendees to work through solutions to the 'think it over' and other problems sellers face. In one exercise, two techniques arose: signaling credibility and expressing empathy. The seller can signal credibility through empathy. Saying, "Let's work through your business needs because you might be better-suited buying elsewhere" can bolster credibility and convey empathy.
Bugg wrapped up with lessons he learned as a Naval instructor. First, simulations are important, both when teaching a rookie pilot to land on an aircraft carrier at night and when refining skills in sales (even if the consequences are decidedly different). Second, briefing and debriefing are essential to the mission. Prepare for the mission and analyze its successes and failures. Finally, engage in continual reinforcement and, when necessary, behavioral change.
The next Chamber Education Series will take place on April 30 and will focus on everything you need to know about LinkedIn. This seminar will feature Susan Long-Molnar, an industry-leading consultant, strategist, trainer, and presenter in communications, marketing, and PR and the President and founder of Managing Communications.
Thank you to the Chamber Education Sponsors: Presenting, Southern Bank; Luncheon, Bahama Breeze; Beverage, Pure Paradise.