How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
A Difference of Opinion
Guest articles > A Difference of Opinion
by: Deb Calvert
“I can’t believe she didn’t buy it. She must be nuts to turn down this deal. I gave her everything she asked for plus a discounted rate. This just doesn’t make sense.”
Why does this happen in sales? You put together a killer deal and fully expect it will close because, you feel certain, it is exactly what the buyer needs. But then, inexplicably, the buyer says, “No.” You can’t fathom why the answer is no. It doesn’t add up.
So why does this happen? What is it that you are not seeing, comprehending or handling? How can you reduce the number of times you get unpleasantly surprised like this?
Start by taking responsibility for the outcome. Making a leap like “she must be nuts” doesn’t give you anything to work with if you are to turn the sale or learn for the next time. Conducting a post-mortem examination of the interaction and sales attempt will give you much more to work with and help you to improve subsequent outcomes with this buyer and future buyers, too.
Next, consider there is not a simple right/wrong choice in whether or not to buy what you are selling. To you, of course, the only right choice is the one you have offered. But the buyer sees this very differently. To the buyer, this choice is just one of many that are available: buy from seller A, buy from seller B (or C, D… X, Y, Z…), don’t buy at all, don’t buy now, buy a different quantity, buy something new and different, and so on.
Since you can’t oversimplify the buyer’s decision into a right or wrong choice, you have to deal with the buyer’s opinion. Doing so requires an understanding of basic argumentation theory. We’ll talk more about that in another article. As a starting point, just consider the three reasons that people may have an opinion that is different from yours.
What this means to you is that you may have built your case on a house of cards. What seemed logical and solid to you may not seem that way to the other party. Here’s an example:
Some people believe strongly in creation. Others believe in evolution. Neither side has a full set of facts on which to base their case. Two different people with two different opinions on this matter might have drawn the conclusions they did based on their own experiences growing up, how they were educated, and what belief system they have chosen. One who values scientific teachings and one who values Biblical teachings would disagree in this matter.
Neither will be swayed by the other’s arguments. If the evolutionist lays out a solid case using science and draws conclusions based on their own experience, it will not resonate with the creationist. And vice versa.
What persuades us to act or to consider another point of view is an appeal to our own senses, a touch point that we can identify with, or a foundation grounded in what we already believe. If you are selling without consideration for the opinions of your buyers, then you may be missing the mark even when you craft what seems (to you) like a very compelling case.
Here are some ways this happens in selling:
To avoid these situations, sellers should remain objective and check their own assumptions. During needs assessment, find out what the buyer values and what relevant experiences he or she has had in the past. Ask questions to gauge the buyer’s initial reaction to any alternate solutions you may propose. Gather information that will give insight about the buyer’s opinions and beliefs.
By putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes, you will avoid the “what just happened?” feeling of hearing “no” and having no idea why the buyer did not buy.
Deb Calvert is President, People First Productivity Solutions
Contributor: Deb Calvert
Published here on: 15-Sep-13
Classification: Development, Sales
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