What is it that stops sales representatives in their tracks when it comes to asking the prospect if they are ready to buy? Here at Market Viewpoint, we see it all the time in the mystery shopping reports we compile for our clients – professional sales agents letting perfectly qualified prospects “escape”. Now we all know why this happens. It’s the fear of rejection that holds sales consultants back from closing the sale but can we just stop for a moment and take a look at this from the customer’s perspective? It’s important to understand how this failure to ask for the sale impacts the customer experience.
Consider this example. A prospective renter calls to make an appointment with a leasing agent at a popular apartment community. The prospect and leasing agent spend roughly an hour together touring model apartments and common areas of the community. They spend time talking about the prospect’s life style, the application process and fees, and the financial qualifications for living in this community. During the process, the prospect is giving strong buying signals. They are nodding their head in agreement, smiling, asking pertinent questions, and developing a relationship with the leasing agent. Then something weird happens. The leasing agent ends the transaction with a handshake and a, “thank you for stopping in today”- as if the prospect was making a social call! It’s almost as if the leasing agent is saying, “We don’t really want your business here”, when they don’t invite the prospect to complete the sales transaction. Psychologically, this has the potential to take the prospect back to the days on the school yard when they weren’t picked to be on the baseball team.
In today’s marketplace, many prospects are left to wonder why they are not being asked to buy, purchase, rent, participate, join, or belong. This is especially true if the prospect sought out your product or service. Keep in mind that during the sales transaction it’s all about the prospect, or at least it should be! If this is the case, it’s no wonder that many prospects are left to guess if it’s something they said or did to not be asked to buy. Disappointment and frustration are terms I’ve heard used by potential customers who walked away empty-handed from a sales encounter. It doesn’t surprise me when these potential customers described it as “poor” when ask to evaluate their experience.
If more sales agents saw things from the customer’s perspective, maybe they wouldn’t be so shy about asking for the sale. What’s holding back your sales team from improving that closing ratio? Consider introducing the customer experience component into your sales training to see if it makes a difference and don’t forget to mystery shop your sales team to make sure they are the best in your industry!