By Juan Ignacio Abollado, sales director, GRUPO VIAJABIEN

In conversations between sales professionals you often hear the phrase, “The customer comes to us because they’re not satisfied with the services they get from their current supplier.” But that’s actually rarely the case.

The internet offers an unlimited window of opportunity and knowledge, of comparisons and real-time launches. If you think the customer has no alternative options you’re mistaken. In a click, they’re gone. The reality is that we tend to underestimate our prospect. It means that given the tools the customer has to change their buying path, it’s up to us to assess whether we’re ready to meet their needs.

The tool that’s most difficult to apply to the sales process can be neither measured nor parametrised. Nor can it be commercialised. It unites the customer’s values with the reality of your product. It’s what differentiates you from the rest, and it puts to the test your capacity to sell emotion. It activates you – and makes you react.

I’m talking about tension.

Capturing someone’s attention is, on the face of it, a simple task. What’s difficult, clearly, is to maintain it. A flexible sales situation unfolds calmly and has clear limits in place. “We don’t do that, but here’s what we can do.”

The customer always hopes we’ll be smarter than we actually are – a fact for which the entire sales sector is responsible. But what if we say something unexpected like, “Actually the competition does this really well”? The customer will react in one of two ways. They will either:

  • Look for a salesperson that doesn’t need to use comparisons to say why their product is different from the competition.
  • Continue the conversation but ask, “If you’re just like your competitors, why are you here?”

The tension is relieved when the customer buys in to what we’re saying. Tension is the fine red line that keeps us alive during and after the sale, within the limited room for manoeuvre we have as salespeople. And it fits perfectly with the resources our customer has at their disposal. Especially in today’s competitive environment.

To break the tension is to lose the sale. And, as with the internet – click! In real time, your customer is gone.

Related post: 8 signs that a prospect is not going to buy (Colleen Francis)

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