A Sirius Sales Lesson

Sales training courses focus on strategies and guidelines on how to quickly build rapport with a customer, properly listen, and how to best promote the features of the product when answering questions – all very important. However, the often overlooked, yet very simple, component to selling is preparing to answer the ‘administrative-type’ questions… deals are made or lost depending on how these questions are answered.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that in today’s economy the average Joe is looking to save money wherever he can, and buyer’s remorse is as prevalent as ever. And now more than ever, consumers are educated on the potential for buyer’s remorse and therefor try to avoid it.

No matter how much average Joe may love your product, and no matter how convinced he is that he has to buy it, his subconscious wants to find an out. So he’ll haphazardly look to find a reason not to buy it for the sake of frugality. In light of that, right before the final buying decision is made, he may ask a question that could give him that out. The formality of asking the question makes the buyer feel prudent. If you give him the answer he truly wants, which is to clear the way for him to pull out his wallet, then he makes the purchase knowing he practiced responsible consumerism. If you provide him an answer he doesn’t want to hear, well then he can walk away from the purchase.

Case in point: I have Sirius XM in my car. I love it. Listening to sports talk or political shows whenever I’m driving is one of those rare me-time luxuries. So when a sales rep for Sirius called (it was actually an outsourced sales service, which was their first mistake) to offer me a subscription promotion if I renewed early, they had my attention. Prior to the call, I wanted to renew. So when he offered the discounted 6-month rate, I was closed – just about…

Before I pulled out my credit card, and in an attempt to demonstrate ‘responsible consumerism,’ I asked if there was a cancellation fee in case I decided to stop the service down the road… this is a typical ‘administrative-type’ buying question. I simply wanted to know how hassle-free the subscription was. Seemed an easy enough question for the rep to answer.

What do you think his response was?

“I’m not too sure, sir. We are a third party to Sirius XM,” he replied.

I asked him if someone in the call centre knew the answer. He said ‘no’. Right then and there I went from a closed sale to a lost deal. Sirius XM, or whichever company was outsourced, didn’t properly train this rep to answer a basic ‘administrative-type’ question – something any subscription service should instantly have an answer for. This is basic know your product information – sales 101 stuff.

When training your sales staff, spend most of your time on the meat and potatoes of selling mentioned at the onset of this article, but don’t overlook the ‘administrative-type’ aspects of closing the deal. It may not be sexy, but there are no points added to the scoreboard if you fumble the deal on the 1-yard line.

Stay hungry,
Aaron Hoddinott signature


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