After you have been selling for a while you will quickly be able to identify the characteristics of certain ‘types’ of buyers.
In general everybody is different that’s why we’re all unique, however a lot of people can be categorised into four groups based on their purchasing habits.
The Knowledge Buyers
The knowledge buyers are the ones who only want the facts to make an informed decision before they purchase, they want to hear about all the pros and cons a product or service has to offer before they decide whether or not it’s the correct purchase for them.
These sales can be ‘time-hungry’ as all of their questions need answering, it’s not uncommon for them to leave after an initial meeting without buying, sometimes they may come back and forth several times before they have made a final decision.
Some of their most important questions surround how effective the product or service will be, how long will it last for (i.e. A bed which will last 10 years is more attractive than a cheaper bed which will last 5) and other variables such as product guarantees, after-sales service, etc.
Generally the knowledge buyers have a technological, teaching or professional background, they’re usually the people who read instructions from back to front before assembling anything and rely solely on facts than personal opinions.
If you do manage to sell to a knowledge buyer they generally will be a loyal customer who will come back time and time again because they don’t want to re-evaluate all of the information with another salesperson when they have already trusted you in the first place.
A clever trick to win their trust is to make them feel as if they’re right, so basically, you’re re-enforcing their knowledge they have already gained or researched. Thus, in their eyes you’re the expert they have been looking for.
Points to Remember:
1) Focus on facts
2) Don’t challenge them
3) Highlight after-sales service
4) Remember the pros and cons
5) Give them time
6) Be their “go-to” expert
The Impulse Knowledge Buyers
The impulse knowledge buyers are generally less controlling than the knowledge buyers, they still want to know all the facts and data regarding the product or service they’re interested in buying however they’re far more likely to take on a salespersons opinion. They come to a “generalised” conclusion based on both fact and opinion.
The reason why they’re called the “impulse knowledge buyers” is because they make their decisions much quickly, rather than delaying or thinking in greater detail about a purchase like the knowledge buyers.
Once they have the facts and reassurance they will most likely purchase on the same day, generally they are people who are intelligent, competitive and focused, they don’t spend too much time on the small talk, they want to achieve their goals quickly.
A great idea is to highlight a timescale to them, for example, “if you order the product today, it can be delivered tomorrow!”.
Points to Remember:
1) Focus on facts
2) Highlight points quickly
3) Give your opinion
4) Re-enforce their knowledge
5) Remember timescales – they make quick decisions
6) They’re usually professional in everything they do.
The Creative Buyers
The creative buyers are the type of people who can see the big picture, they have vision and like to inspire. Unlike the knowledge buyers and the impulse knowledge buyers, they’re not really interested in facts and figures, they’re far more emotive and expressive. Usually they have their own personal style and don’t worry about day-to-day life, they are in it for the long haul.
If you can appeal to their vision, you could easily inspire them into purchasing the product or service they’re offering, for some creative buyers their vision can be different to the one you’re attempting to sell them, so it’s always best to ask as many questions as possible before you attempt to close a sale.
However if you do manage to build up a good rapport between yourself and the creative buyer you can be confident in the knowledge that they will certainly recommend you to all of their creative friends, because if you have a mutual understanding of what they required then you’re most likely going to have the same understanding of what their friends and family will require as well.
The People Person
The people person is a buyer who generally strives for the greater good, whether that’s in business or pleasure. Generally, this characteristic is combined to include other attributes such as positive engagements, a team player and excellent problem-solving skills.
As their ‘make up’ is built upon an ethic of working with others, it can be a good idea to attempt to build a relationship with them to gain their trust, as they’re so positive about their team related attributes once you have gained their trust they’re more likely to purchase from you, because your opinion ill be highly rated.
For some it can be a great mistake to overlook the different characteristics of their potential customers, knowing all the elements highlighted above will make you a more effective sales professional, without this knowledge you could easy be pitching the wrong sales presentation to the wrong person, and ultimately making no money in the process.
Being proficient in noticing and sensing each buyer from each category will take time and patience however once you have perfected it, there should be no stopping you!
As well as knowing all of the correct ways to close a sale, it’s worth understanding some of the techniques which can actually put off potential customers, by knowing these methods you can then evaluate your own performance and adjust accordingly.
Firstly, harassing customers can really make them dislike you, a sales professional should be just that, professional at all times, don’t be aggressive, don’t be rude and don’t lose your temper.
Always remember you have your reputation to uphold, if a customer says no, accept that fact and move on, you can always come back to them a few weeks or months down the line.
Equally it’s extremely important to always tell the truth, never lie about what your product or service can do, when it actually can’t.
Only highlight the elements and benefits you can deliver on, a sales professional who makes false claims will always look incredibly stupid when they have been found out. The customer is unlikely to ever trust you, even if you ‘turn over a new leaf’ and they will tell everybody they know. It’s simply not worth the trouble to lie.
You should never be patronising to anybody you come across, sometimes it can be hard to tell if you are, however a good sales person must be aware that they are no better than the average man or lady walking the street, we all breath the same air and we all eat.
Treat and respect everybody in the same manner as you would like others to treat you.
To progress on this point, always remember the person you’re dealing with, remember their name, what sport they like and what music they like (if you get that far). Build a rapport with them, remember they’re not just names on a spreadsheet or address book, they’re real people, so learn more about them.
One final point you need to be aware of is the thin line between arrogance and confidence, in general confidence is a major plus point however arrogance is an annoyance and it DOES annoy people. What’s even worse is arrogance mixed with ‘bragging’ – any potential customer or client will find it virtually impossible to deal with you if you project yourself in this manner.
To be an elite sales professional you need to mix together the correct ingredients to create the nicest ‘cake’ possible, once you have perfected your own ingredients then customers will be wanting you for breakfast, lunch and tea.