Sales is one of those professions where there are not as many rights and wrongs, as there are ways that people do things. While everyone agrees that you want the prospect to feel like they have bought rather than having been sold, how you do that can take many forms and styles. One aspect of sales that has camps and leads to good debate is the use of options in moving the prospect in the direction you want.
You know what I mean, giving them the option of Tuesday Afternoon or Wednesday morning for an appointment; giving the multiple options in the final purchase, say three options with three different price points and inclusions. They tell me the last one is very effective especially if you offer three options, the buyer always goes for the mid-level one. I am not sure, I would not know, because I don’t think sales professionals should be offering options or choices.
As sales professionals, especially those who sell “solutions” and see themselves as “consultants” executing the “consultative sales”, we should be staying away from options and offering what we believe in our “expert” opinion is the best option. After all if you went to a lawyer or doctor, would you want to be offered options or their expert opinion? You would want them to examine the facts thoroughly and take the right action based on the facts.
People like to buy and deal with people who capable and confident, especially when their decision involves change or potential risk to the company. They want to work with someone reliable who they feel is ready to address a specific issues or opportunity. That requires that the seller take a leadership role in the process. If you are a subject matter expert, as most sales people are; and you do a professional job in the Discovery portion of the sale and establish the facts properly, you should be in a position to offer up the best plan. If indeed you have done a good job uncovering the facts and aspirations of the buyer, why would you need options, you would know what the “right” offering is to the prospect.
Same applies when you first engage with a potential buyer. People tell me they “don’t like to pressure the prospect” by just giving one choice, giving them two days “gives them options”. They are not looking for options; they are looking to get an issue resolved, the quicker they can do that the better; the less you dilly-dally around the quicker that is like to happen.
Offering option also invites unnecessary negotiations. “What’s the difference between the two?”, “can’t I get this for that price, can’t you just throw that in?”
Avoid all this by not giving options. Offer up the best answer to the client’s situation and go with that, if they don’t like it for whatever reason they will tell you and then you deal with that specific. But for all you know, they may see the merit in your best choice.
What’s in Your Pipeline?