27 Jan Buyer’s rapture: how to make customers feel good about buying from you
Effective sales is often taught as a process. Alternatively, it can be seen as a series of behaviours and mindset attributes by the salesperson.
But what about the customer? Another way of seeing sales is as an effort to meet the emotional buying needs of the customer. Sales is very much an emotional business, which is why too much reliance on rational value propositions sometimes fails to hit the mark.
Before they buy, customers need to feel ‘good enough’ about any purchase, or they won’t buy. If they feel really good about the purchase, they’ll come back and refer others to you. Good salespeople know that getting the sale over the line isn’t the end of the challenge – they keep selling after the sale to make sure you feel good about it. This is why retail staff will often compliment you on your choice/taste after your purchase: it reinforces your confidence about the purchase – ‘Yes, I got a good deal there’.
And yes, this is very much a ‘feel’ thing. Even where the buying process may seem very rational and structured, like a formal procurement process, this is because a buyer needs to ‘feel’ confident that any purchase meets all their criteria, or maybe they need to ‘feel’ they are making the most informed choice. Maybe they need to ‘feel’ they can justify their purchase decision to their spouse / boss / colleagues. Even where reason and rationality seem prominent, the emotions are still in control.
So, how do you meet the emotional needs of buyers? It will depend on the buyer, and a good salesperson will identify priorities and focus on them, but below are some common emotional needs of buyers
Before they buy, customers may need to feel that:
- the salesperson understands
We all want to be understood: it builds rapport and makes communication easier. In sales, that feeling that the salesperson understands – your needs, your priorities, your situation, your feelings – is especially important because the salesperson at some point will make a recommendation, a sales pitch, or a value proposition. The extent to which we accept any sales messaging depends to a great extent on how much we feel that the salesperson understands us. A good salesperson therefore listens as much as they talk. And listens well! The more they listen, the more the customer will feel like they are understood.
- they can trust the salesperson
Feeling the salesperson understands us is important in building trust. But there’s more. To really trust a salesperson, and therefore any recommendations they make, we may also need to feel:
- that they know their stuff: are knowledgeable and credible
- that we can rely on them to deliver on their promises/assurances
- that they have the authority to deliver (or do a deal)
- that they have been honest in their claims, and open about any downsides
- that they are motivated by helping us rather then helping themselves.
- they can trust the organisation
Just as we need to trust an individual salesperson, we also need to trust the organisation. Brand, experience and references can therefore be vital in building up customer confidence to buy.
- they like the salesperson
Have you ever bought from one supplier/shop over another simply because you liked one salesperson more than the other. Although more important for some people than others, we instinctively like to buy from people we like. It just feels better. Hence the sales mantra ‘be liked, qualify, close!’
- in control
Increasingly, people like to buy rather than be sold to. Over the past 50 years, sales techniques have therefore increasingly prioritised the importance of questioning and listening over ‘telling’ and ‘sales spiels’. This has only accelerated further with the growth of online sales. People like to be in control of the buying process: they like choice, options, information and to go at their own pace. If they feel pressured, or out of control, they feel uncomfortable or uncertain about buying. Although ‘urgency’ and ‘controlling the sales process’ can be effective sales approaches, this should never be at the expense of the customer feeling out of control.
- the value of your offering
Before they buy, people need to feel that the product/service is worth more – to them – than the price they are paying. If I buy a shirt for $80, that’s OK because to me it is worth $100 – because it makes look slim and feel good. Economists call this ‘consumer surplus’ – it’s the gap between what we pay and what we would have been willing to pay that makes us feel as if we have got a good deal. Good salespeople use a variety of techniques to communicate value, with stories and intimate questions increasingly being seen as more effective than statements or value propositions. Ask the customer how they feel about their needs, their dreams, their hopes, their anxieties and their concerns, and they will build the value for themselves.
- they are right in choosing you over your competitors
People need to feel they are making a good choice, otherwise they may feel buyer’s remorse. They can feel good about choosing you because of price, service, convenience, speed, specific product/service attributes, because they trust the person that referred them to you, because they have other reasons to trust you, or just because they like you. Whether the difference is you, the organisation, or the product/service, make sure you give the customer a reason for feeling good about choosing you over others.
- They are not getting ripped off
Getting ripped off doesn’t feel good. People need to feel that they are paying a ‘fair’ price in terms the costs of production, the cost and quality of alternatives and more. They need to be confident that they are not being either misled or sold products/services/attributes that they do not need or add little value. Whilst good salespeople always emphasise value over cost, it may also be necessary to sometimes explain costs of production in order to justify the price.
Not really. But effective sales training will teach people how to create these feelings within their customers.
The good news is that customers WANT to feel all the above. So they will often help by persuading themselves that they feel the above: they may talk themselves into a sale because they want the feel-good factor that comes from a good purchase.
CX Training is a Brisbane-based provider of tailored and online training solutions in sales, customer experience, communication skills, pricing, leadership and team performance management, time management and more.