The fundamentals of understanding how people buy must be seen through the lens of the traditional process of sales versus the Sandler system.
Many salespeople are out there now speaking to buyer’s and knowing something’s not right, but unsure how to articulate what that thing is. The thing is the buyer’s system which has been trained and engrained into us on how to sell by being sold. The traditional system triggers responses which mislead the salespeople. Think about your experience going to a mall. You may be planning to visit a local mall with the intention to eat because of all the nice restaurants within it. In order to get to the restaurant, you may have to walk through a department store.
Walking through that store you might stop and notice a coat that catches your eye and a salesperson could notice you and immediately ask some variation of, “Can I help you find something?” The response is always, “No thanks, just looking.” It’s a reflexive response which makes the salesperson back off and go away. It naturally creates a tough environment to sell in. Even if we have intentions to buy, we dismiss salespeople right off the bat out of instinct.
Think of when you learned how to answer the home phone early on in your life. Our family taught us how to answer, some variation of, “This is the X residents,” and we learn basic gatekeeping practices. We pick up the phone enthusiastically and the person on the other line may ask for your parents. If you don’t know who it is, they teach you to say, “they’re not here.” It creates this conflict which programs into our system lie to salespeople right next to eat your vegetables and make your bed.
We’re programmed to buy in a certain way and we’re programmed to sell in a certain way. Sellers qualify based on the ability to use a good, rather than any actual qualification. Are you qualified to get your carpets cleans? The question is, do you have a home or carpets? People who are technically qualified get pushed into a state where they’re looking at solutions.
Salespeople are problem-solvers and fixers who want to present their goods as opposed to investigate the ability for a buyer to want or use these goods. Buyers naturally gain an advantage in this area in that they begin getting really good information on solutions and ideas to solve their issue with free information. The salesperson is doing this to get their needs met and to feel optimistic about their job but are being trapped into doing unpaid consulting which is engaged with no commitment by the buyer. Often times, sellers don’t realize they create unequal business stature and are willing to be abused in hopes that they are chosen at the end of an engagement.
Now the seller has mustered up their courage to ask for an order or to do a trial close. They give it a go and test the water that they’ve put the prospect in. Sometimes this system works and when it works, it makes it difficult to learn a new system because you’ve got successes and a history of successes through continually using these tactics and strategies. Most people go into sales in the hopes of helping others and are driven by a passion to do that.
This is a trap, because it feeds into the buyer system that keeps the buyer in total control. A high degree of equal business stature can actually lead both parties to achieve success through an engagement. Equal business stature keeps us out of a vendor relationship. A partner is willing to push back nurturing and gently and go into important conversations about actual solutions. A vendor is simply and continuously hoping to provide something.
In response to the attempt to close the buyer moves into their third step. But, we’re at fault. You can’t be mad at a prospect for doing something you didn’t tell them they couldn’t do. The third step is to mislead about what they’re prepared to do next. Variations of, “We enjoy what you came up with. We think this will help. We’re going to kick it around the office and let you know in a week or two what we decide.” This isn’t bad and doesn’t sound bad, but it is misleading and, in some cases, can be untruthful. We hear what we want to hear, but in reality, they may have alternative plans or different commitments.
After this, after two weeks, they transition into the fourth step which is to hide. They’ve gotten everything they’ve needed from us and radio silence kicks in. They stop responding to emails or voice mails and totally disappear. It creates an exasperated feeling in the salesperson who felt good about the engagement and read the necessary buying signs, but are coming to terms with the clients willingness to go dark. This muddle of mutual mystification leads to wimp junction.
Wimp junction is the moment in time when you’re met with a choice. You go down the buyer’s system and choose the traditional topic, or in our case, you go forward in the Sandler System and take five seconds of courage to move forward in an instructive and beneficial engagement to help build and close business. By disengaging the buyer system mentally we can get our weekends back and to do that we have to face the brutal truth that there is a percentage of people who won’t buy from you. In order to enable that we need to give buyer’s permission to say no so that we don’t trap ourselves in wasted time, effort, and energy. We’ve been trained not to hear no, but the reality is that no is the best option because it frees up room and time for yeses.