Paul shares some great tips to help you steer clear of becoming that pushy salesperson.
Approach the conversation with a mindset of serving your customer.
The times we (salespeople) come across as pushy are when we focus on ourselves (what we want to sell) versus what the customer needs.
Remind the customer of their needs through a needs analysis prior to making a recommendation.
Ask some opinion-seeking questions and follow the buyer’s lead. Are they giving you buying signals? That’s when you ask for the commitment.
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How do I make product recommendations without being pushy?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Now, on today’s episode, I’m going to answer a question that was submitted to us by Chris. Chris is in the banking industry, and Chris went to the Q and A Sales Podcast and actually filled out the question form. So this is proof-positive that I do answer these questions. So keep these questions coming.
Now, the question is, “Paul, when a customer gives you a cue, a buying signal, how do you respond with a product or service without seeming pushy?” Chris, love the question, and I love where your heart is at. You don’t want to be a pushy salesperson. Nobody does. And the reason why? Pushy salespeople are not successful. Pushy salespeople—they give all of us a bad name. So, we’re going to answer this question on today’s show.
Just as a reminder, before we get into answering that question, now is the time to pick up your copy of Selling Through Tough Times. We are in a recession and, in fact, in the book, I talk about how to position yourself without being pushy—how to position yourself to not only win the sale today, but also, if they choose to wait, you want to position yourself for future business. So pick up your copy of Selling Through Tough Times. Available wherever you get your book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble. You name it, you can find it.
So let’s get into it. How do we make a recommendation—how do we respond to buying signals with a product or service without seeming too pushy? So, first things first. When you’re talking to your customers, the mindset is going to be important, Chris. So our mindset begins by wanting to help our customers—wanting to serve them, and wanting to solve their problems. And if we approach the conversation with that attitude, it will come through in our behavior. So we want to be aware that we want to have the right mindset going in. When we’re interacting with a customer, if we find ourselves wanting to jump too quickly into product, into services, whatever it may be, we’ve got to remind ourselves, “Hey, I’m here to serve that customer, to solve their problem, to make a difference for them.”
Now, a couple ways we can do that. Number one, we can go through an empathy exercise. An empathy exercise is key. Now empathy is about putting yourself in the position of another person to see as they see, to feel as they feel. And when we do that, it helps us understand how that customer defines value at a much deeper level. So we want to imagine what it’s like to be the customer that we’re trying to help. We want to imagine what it’s like to be in their world, to face the struggles that they face every day. This simple five-to-seven-minute exercise will put you in the right frame of mind when you go in there and meet with the customer. In fact, I often tell salespeople, “Hey, before you go into that meeting, close your eyes. Even imagine what it’s like to be sitting at the customer’s desk—what they experience every day.” This puts you in the right frame of mind. So the only reason that we are pushy, sometimes, is because we put the focus on ourselves, the salesperson. Instead, we’ve got to put the focus outside of ourselves.
Now, a couple of tactical things that you can do, Chris. Number one, before you even consider making a product recommendation or a service recommendation, whatever it may be, remind the customer of their needs. And then do a needs summary. That’s all it is. It’s summarizing their needs. And then you want to make a positive statement. And here’s how this may look, Chris.
Let’s say (we’re role playing a little bit) you’re the customer. You’ve shared some of your needs. We’ll use a banking product since that’s what we’re talking about here:
Chris, just to quickly recap your needs. What you’re looking to do is really create a savings account that is going to protect your money, that’s going to give you some interest that you can earn along the way. But more importantly, you want to make sure that you have access to this money in case an emergency comes up. Well, the good news is, Chris, we have a couple of different options to explore based on your deposit amount. How about we walk through those together? How does that sound?
And what we’re doing there, we’re gaining their permission to share, but we’re also highlighting their needs. So by reminding the customer of their needs, we’re simply showing how we have a solution that could potentially fit, and you gained permission from them to do so. That is going to give them a stronger sense of control. It’s going to make you seem less pushy.
Now let’s get into closing. And this is where sometimes salespeople get pushy. This is where salespeople get a bad rap. Closing a sale is not about heavy-handed mind manipulation or twisting their arm, it’s simply asking a few questions. So, let’s say—back to your original question—when the customer gives you a cue, when they give you a signal that they are ready to move forward, first and foremost, we need to recognize those signals. And if they’re displaying buying signals like nodding their head, or if they’re agreeing with you and saying yes a lot, then it’s time to ask for their opinion. We call this an opinion-seeking question. It’s about drawing out that customer’s opinion.
So if I’m talking to you, Chris, and I mention one of my savings products: “We’ve got a CD here that we could provide you. It requires a $40,000 minimum. It’s going to earn 1% interest over the next 24 months. And the good news is, you have access to it in case an emergency comes up. And there’s going to be a minor fee to draw that money out.”
And I see you nodding your head and I ask you, “Okay, Chris. So how does that sound to you? Is that what you had in mind? What are your thoughts?” I’m asking an opinion-seeking question, and that’s going to let me know whether you’re interested or not. And if you are interested, you’re going to say things like, “Well, yeah. That’s pretty much what I was thinking.” That’s a buying signal.
Then I say, “Okay, would you like to go ahead and get that set up?” Once they give you a true buying signal, it’s necessary to ask for their commitment. And that’s not being pushy, that’s being observant. The fact that they have a need, you have a solution, and they expressed interest in the fact that they want to buy it, that’s not being pushy. That’s being a good professional—helping them move forward.
Now, when we get into trouble is when we ask the customer, “So what do you think?” And the customer says, “Well, I’m just not sure.” We don’t want to push forward and say, “Okay, well, what do I need to do to put you into this CD today? How are we going to make a deal?” That’s when we get pushy.
Instead, we want to understand why they’re hesitating. So I may say, “Okay, Chris. Well, I sense a little bit of hesitation in moving forward. Is there anything about the solution that you don’t like?” Or, “If we could put together the ideal solution, what would be different about that versus what I’m offering you here?” We want to get more information from them. And as we get that information, we’re going to be able to reconfigure our solution for that customer, or we’re going to be able to address the objections that they have that surface. It’s not about being pushy. It’s about being professional.
Chris, good luck to you. I hope this information helps.
Make it a big day.