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♪ Follow the yellow brick road. ♫ Follow, follow, follow, follow; follow the yellow brick road.

I would find it hard to believe there is anyone who is not familiar with the Wizard of Oz. In this classic 1939 movie, a tornado transports Dorothy from her home in Kansas to, “somewhere over the rainbow.” It deposits her and Toto, her dog, in a very strange place. She is led to believe the only person who can help her get back home is the Wizard of Oz. He is the monarch of the Emerald City, a day’s journey from where Dorothy and Toto landed.

Along with three newfound friends they are told by Glinda the good witch, to “follow the yellow brick road.” It would take them to Oz where they would get the help they need from the Wizard.

Although there are differences between your customers in appearance, temperament, and behavior, people do seem to have one thing in common, and that is how they make buying decisions. Whether buying a battery charger or a Dodge Charger there are several questions virtually every customer subconsciously asks and answers. These are a normal part of their purchasing process. I call this progression the “yellow brick road,” since they typically follow it to reach the destination they seek.

1. Can I trust you and do I like you?

People buy from those they like and trust. In order to become likeable and trustworthy it’s important to make a solid first impression. A neat appearance, pleasant voice and smile, and a helpful and positive attitude are all critical. By exhibiting these attributes, most folks will at least give the benefit of the doubt and listen to recommendations.

2. Do you really care about me?

Everybody on the planet has an invisible sign on their chest that reads, “Make Me Feel Special.” In order to accomplish this, you need to ask lots of “W” questions; What, Why, Where, Who, When and throw in How with the “W’s.” As prospects respond to your probing, actively listen to their responses. Making eye contact, responding both verbally and non-verbally, and occasional paraphrasing their responses ensures you understand their intentions. This helps the homeowner feel special and won’t cause them to think you are simply a hit and run salesperson.

3. Do I really have a problem?

Sometimes the prospect is aware of issues and sometimes they aren’t. Make sure to describe every problem and concern, and verify with photos or video before making your recommendations. Remember that “surgery without a diagnosis is malpractice.” Always put into perspective the value of preventative maintenance to help avoid unnecessary home repair expenses. As you do, always treat every customer like you would want your own mother treated. No scare tactics, under any circumstances.

4. What can you do for me?

Continue the conversation by offering your solution, showing what your product or service will do for them. Remember that features tell, but it’s the benefits that sell, as you give your explanation. As a reminder, benefits come in two flavors; logical and emotional. Logical benefits tell how the feature works, while emotional benefits tell how the customer will feel once they have them. In addition, whenever possible, demonstrate your solution to help your customer see it come to life.

5. Is this a good business decision?

Assuming you’ve sounded reasonable to this point, their next subconscious question will be whether it makes sense financially. It’s critical at this juncture to qualify your company as the right one for the job. Cite differences between you and competitors that will reduce risk to their most expensive investment; their home. Show them you provide the lowest overall cost over the life of the service, even when your upfront price is higher.

6. Do I want it and should I take action now?

It’s normal for folks to hesitate prior to pulling the trigger, even when they know they need what you are offering. Don’t be surprised if objections surface, but attempt to bring up and answer the most common ones yourself, prior to them raising the concern. This way you take away objections that could surprise you when you attempt to close transactions. As you respond don’t ever forget that “nobody wants to be pushed but everyone likes to be led.” Avoid selling pressure and maintain your professional integrity with everyone.

Remember that selling is not something you do to someone, but rather something you do with and for someone.

Customers that are sold this way tend to remain loyal for the long term. Additionally they are more likely to refer and recommend others to you and your company. That’s important for your job security as well as the reputation of your company.

How about that? You didn’t need to see the wizard after all!

 

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“Doug came to our company and created a selling structure stressing systems and procedures and team synergy. Both components have changed the way we approach business on a day to day basis. He has encouraged our creativity to bring more life to the organization. Doug provides a “big brother” feel that lets us know when we are doing a great job and when “we need to pick it up a bit.” I appreciate this knowing he cares about the results we get and that our sales remain healthy.” Check out his website here. – Jay Carpenter, Alarm Detection Technology (ADT), Albany, Ga.

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