If you are like me I’ll bet you too have encountered buyers whose attitudes and behaviors were as confusing as the preacher who gave a sermon on tithing, and then the music guy ended the service by having everybody sing, Jesus Paid It All. Although it’s next to impossible to change the behavior of grumpy folks, it is possible to change how you respond to them in order to attempt to alter the outcome of your selling encounter.
There are lots of difficult buyers in the marketplace, but in this post I’m going to focus on five that seem to be the most common. As we look at each one I’ll make a couple of suggestions that just might help you deal with them more effectively.
Three Bears Buyers – Come on now, you remember that once upon a time you dealt with a prospect who thought all your solutions were either too hard or too soft but never just right, finding fault with everything you suggested.
To counter that behavior, don’t let Momma, Poppa, or Baby buyer dwell on their complaints. When you have determined, as a result of your assessment, the real issues keeping members of the Bear family up at night; short-circuit their gripe session by asking for their recommendation to improving the situation. Do your best to have an optimistic discussion and be sure they participate by offering suggestions to avoid fault-finding later. And hey…don’t get clawed.
Attila the Hun Buyers – The Huns took “grumpy” to a new level. They were a barbaric, warlike, group of Asian people who devastated Eastern and Central Europe nearly 20 centuries ago, under the leadership of Attila, known as “the Scourge of the Gods.” So when you use that name when talking about one of your buyers, you are speaking about aggressive folks who try to steamroll you with anger and rudeness to get their way. During your assessment, they may withhold information about wants and needs, and then often refuse to take responsibility for their situation, expecting you to fix all the problems.
Your best course of action with these buyers is to stand your ground and maintain eye contact as you let the Huns vent. When the tantrum is finally over they will likely become more reasonable. If the Donald Duck fit lasts too long, in a calm voice simply interrupt and call a time-out, even if it means concluding the selling conversation and physically leaving. When you respond emotionally or show weakness to a Hun, you will just give them more ammo and prolong the tirade. Watch your back, Sparky!
Mr. Bean Buyers – Who hasn’t watched a few episodes of Mr. Bean? Played by Rowan Atkinson, “The child in a grown man’s body” who rarely spoke, launched Episode 1 in 1990. When having a selling conversation with a Mr. Bean buyer, as the discussion progresses he will often shut down, offering merely yes/no answers or an occasional shrug. He will use silence sometimes as an offensive weapon, and display body language such as glares, frowns, or folded arms; as a result of being insecure and fearful that he might be wrong.
As you continue in your attempt to sell to Mr. Bean, one suggestion is to keep smiling. If you sense his fear, reassure him and ask open questions to prolong the conversation, and hopefully avoid a shut down. Maintain your confidence and reassure Bean there are no foolish questions. As your conversation continues you should ensure that forward progress is slow and methodical in order to avoid a stampede. Don’t weary in well doing.
Everybody Loves Raymond Buyers – In my opinion, this was one of the funniest sitcoms ever, and I’ll admit I still tune in to TV Land occasionally and watch the reruns. Just like Ray Romano, buyers of this ilk don’t know what they want nor do they have the confidence to make a decision. They feel the need to discuss their decisions with others, and prefer oral information, because it can be changed at will just like their opinions.
It’s good to encourage Raymond to share his concerns, and then listen carefully to understand the real issue(s). Attempt to get Ray to prioritize his objections and then deal with them on a worst first basis, hoping to gain his confidence and reduce his reliance on others as a sounding board. Debra will thank you!
Bullwinkle J. Moose Buyers – Like the early ‘60’s cartoon character, Mr. Know-It-All, buyers like Bullwinkle possess just enough information to be dangerous. They often spotlight minor issues to distract attention from important ones, while behind it all; they really want respect and a feeling of importance.
Be sure not to ignore Mr. Moose or correct something he might say in front of others, or you risk a major blowout. Any alternatives and ideas you want to share should be offered in private, but you don’t have to roll over and agree with every idea, as long as you’re tactful. Don’t even think of siding with Boris Badenov.
When difficult people push your buttons, maintain your composure. How you respond is the key to remaining in the game and having a chance to eventually win the sale. Here are a few general tips you can use that will be helpful regardless of buyer type:
-Speak slowly using low voice tone and volume.
-Don’t ask threatening questions.
-Listen for the real reason your prospects are being difficult, and treat the objection as important, even if doesn’t seem so to you.
-Acknowledge the concern, and then repeat it to the buyer, to make sure you fully understand the issue.
-Don’t argue, or you will always lose. Do you want to be right, or do you want to gain a new customer?
-If necessary, apologize, even if you disagree because the customer is always right…even when they aren’t!
-Offer to rectify every problem. This doesn’t mean giving in to their demands as much as it does offering alternatives that will provide an acceptable compromise.
-Always be professional, because circling at Mach2 with your hair on fire won’t inspire much confidence from buyers, regardless of their pedigree.
——————He Said What? ——————
Joe Johnson, VP, American LubeFast says, “Doug we were all blessed by your being a part of our 2016 Conference. It was great for our managers to put a face and that amazing personality with the training and the book. We are very appreciative of you insights and input on improving our “selling edge”! Look here to see what brought that on.
©2016 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC