A client recently called me with a concern about what’s happening in the oil markets these days. The plummet in oil prices has the entire marketplace confused.
Many decision-makers (both consumers and businesses) won’t buy any big-ticket items until they figure out what happens next.
So, what advice should sellers offer?
Perhaps you’ve come across a similar situation in sales in regard to customers’ raising other macroeconomic factors, say, financing rates or unemployment trends.
When a customer is hung up on an obstacle over which he or she has absolutely zero control, the best strategy is to prompt the person to think of the purchase as a long-term decision, thus lessening the impact of short-term factors.
Here is an example of this approach:
Salesperson: “So tell me specifically what concerns you.”
Buyer: “Well, there are a lot of question marks in the oil market right now and I’m concerned about the effect this price drop will have on our company. I mean, my job is not in jeopardy, but things are scary right now.”
Salesperson: “Got it. Let me ask you this: Do you often see fluctuations in the price of oil?”
Buyer: “Yes, all the time. But still, what’s happening right now is unusual.”
Salesperson: “Agreed. But is it safe to say that this is a short-term phenomenon, especially since the price of oil has fluctuated wildly over the past five years?"
Buyer: "Yes, it is a short-term trend. But it’s serious.”
Salesperson: “Understood. What about this purchase decision? Is that a short-term consideration or a long-term consideration? It’s long term, correct?”
Buyer: “Yes, it definitely is long term.”
Salesperson: “I just want to be sure that you make the right decision for the right reasons. It’s always dangerous to make long-term decisions based on short-term factors. I would encourage you to stay long term in your thinking. Make sense?”
I’m not suggesting that this approach will inspire a buyer to fall down at your feet and beg you to make the deal.
Yet this technique may change a buyer’s perspective and provide him or her a new approach to what initially seemed like a problem.
Most important, by providing this change in perspective, you help your buyer move away from the tyranny of the urgent so that he or she can embrace a suitable long-term solution.
That’s when you change the purchaser’s world.