Sales & Sales Management Expertise

When Your Sales Prospect Wants to Shop Around

Tags: sales prospecting, sales tips, shopping around

prospect-looking.jpg 

A guest post by Mark Trinkle, Chief Sales Expert, Anthony Cole Training Group

“My momma told me, you better shop around…shop, shop…oh yeah, you better shop around.”

Perhaps you recognize those lyrics from the 1960’s hit by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.  Maybe (and it probably depends on how old you are) that triggers memories of the good old days.  If you are a salesperson, maybe it triggers emotions around how frustrating it can be when your prospect goes shopping.  Smokey Robinson wrote those lyrics from the perspective of a mother’s advice to her son about making sure he finds the right girl to marry.  Of course, prospects use those lyrics to make sure they don’t “marry” the wrong supplier or the wrong vendor.

You and I both know that prospects shop…that is to be expected.  We use the term “buy cycle” to talk about the process that people go through when they make a significant purchase.  And most people have a buy cycle that is heavily influenced by lessons learned over many years of being a consumer.  Throw in some early lessons they might have learned from mom and dad like “don’t buy the first thing you see” and then add to that the messages that they receive from advertisers such as “you can get it for less here” and it is no wonder that buyers today are more convinced than ever that going shopping makes sense.

So, what can you do about it?  What can you do when your prospect wants to go Smokey Robinson and the Miracles on you?

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Understand that is perfectly normal for your prospect to take the buy cycle they use as an individual consumer and apply it to the purchases they make as a business.
  2. Remember that their buy cycle has generally benefited them as a consumer as it has probably saved them money.
  3. Remember that while it is ok to challenge their buy cycle, you don’t want to confront or challenge them directly. You should ask, “I’m curious; could you tell me more about the process you are going to follow for making this decision?”  As Stephen Covey has said, “Seek first to understand before being understood.”
  4. Be strong enough to ask, “What are you hoping to accomplish by shopping?”
  5. Deal with their buy cycle upfront. The best salespeople always understand two things:  why the prospect will buy and how they will buy.  Address that early in the sales cycle as opposed to worrying about it after your presentation.

 

That’s all for now, folks. Now, go sell like a champion today.

SUMMARY

When your sales prospect wants to shop around, remember these 5 things:

  1. It’s normal for your prospect to have a buy cycle in their business purchases.
  2. Their buy cycle has generally benefited them as a consumer to save money.
  3. Ask, “Could you tell me more about the process you are going to follow for making this decision?”
  4. Ask, “What are you hoping to accomplish by shopping?”
  5. Deal with their buy cycle upfront.