Your buyers are like an onion

Our Tumble Dryer is on its way out and with the weather as it is, we need a new one.

We went into an appliance shop and as night follows day, we were greeted with the standard ‘Can I help you?’ 😠

What do you think our response was? Even though we had a problem which we wanted to solve?

Yep you guessed it.

‘No thanks, we are just looking.’

If you know of anyone that has a shop or runs a retail business, please, please, please tell them to train their staff better at welcoming customers. ‘Can I help you’ is a terrible way to approach a customer.

But why did we say ‘no thank you’ even when we went in there looking for a new appliance?

Because as buyers, we naturally put defences up. We try and protect ourselves from the actions of a ‘selfish, only interested in themselves salesperson’ (sadly we think that way as so many people do sell badly) and so say no, even though we do have an issue.

As buyers, we are like onions. Onions have on average 8 to 10 layers to them, and human beings are the same, if not more!

How often do you ask someone you have just met a question such as ‘How are you doing’ to which you get a reply which is ‘fine’ when deep down the person isn’t fine?

Or when you ask (and this sadly happens too often ☹️) a small business owner at a networking event ‘How business is going?’ and then say ‘really well’ when deep down they are thinking of giving it all up and finding a job as they haven’t sold anything for months and can’t pay their bills.

In these 2 different but common scenarios, the other person MAY open up to someone they know very well and have built up a relationship and trust with, but they sure as hell are not going to open up to someone they have just met.

They don’t because we build barriers around ourselves to protect and ensure we stay safe. It’s basic human nature. And when someone is trying to sell to us, those barrier alert levels go up a notch!

What have those who are able to get ‘the true feelings’ done to get into the core layer of the Human Onion?

The answer is simple.

They got to know the other person. They have peeled back the layers of the onion.

They have made an effort to truly understand the position and place they are in.

And they have done it in a way that is altruistic – not with an intention to gain from the other person. Their goal was only to support, serve and help. They asked friendly questions in an open way with an empathetic tone which put the other person at ease.

They used their emotional intelligence to find out more and really get to know how the other person was feeling. They probed gently when a potential issue opened up and dug deeper into the effect this had and what the implications could be if it wasn’t solved.

They built trust and respect by listening first and then trying to solve the problem in the best way for the other person and not in a way that just suited or helped them.

That ‘selfless not selfish’ approach enabled them to peel beneath the layers and get to the core.

And at the core was the heart. The problem or desire.

And herein lies the secret to sales and selling.

When you get to the core of the human onion and identify the main PROBLEM or DESIRE that is making the buyer feel as they do, you increase your chances of selling dramatically.

Because at this point, most buyers WANT a solution. They don’t want to be where they are but want a solution they can BELIEVE in and to TRUST someone to deliver on what they have promised.

Getting to the core of the onion comes through asking the right type of brilliant questions (see next week’s email) with the right tone and gestures (see my email 2 weeks from now).

Now if the Sales Assistant at the appliance store had been trained properly and had read this email, he would have been in a strong position to win my business.

“Good morning, lovely to see you. Come on inside the weather is awful isn’t it?” or “Good afternoon, how’s your day been for you so far?”

If he had asked one of these simple opening questions to break the ice then being the friendly person I am I may have replied with a ‘yes it is or it’s been good’ and the conversation could then flow.

He would have got past layer 1….

Alas, he didn’t and he like so many others in sales will carry on in their old school ways hoping to get results.

Congratulations though. You are not like that.

By being part of my email community, you are committed to REALLY understanding what is going on in the mind of a buyer and it will bear fruit.

Next week is all about questions. Which ones to ask and in what order.

But remember the person you speak with this week is like an onion. Knowing this is one key part of your sales superpower.



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