Road Map to the Sale

Dec. 28, 2000
A few weeks ago, a top salesperson was revealing to me his belief that many customers want to be led to the sale but get confused. He claims that many times, objections such as, "I have to think it over," are caused by the customer not knowing what to do next or how to purchase the products.

He suggested trying a "road map" to close the sale by telling the customer what is going to happen at every stage and then lead them to the sale. Here is his technique.

Steven takes command early in the sale by saying something such as, "Now I am taking out the instruments I need to test your water. You will see better if you stand over there." Not only does this give him physical control, it gets the family used to listening to him and lets them know what stage of the demonstration he is at. If he wants to bring up a particular topic, Steve says something such as, "This is where many of my customers ask how soft water can save them money." He uses this bridge to get to the topic he wants to discuss and keep the customer on track.

This system really pays off as you get toward the close. The family is already used to following his instructions, so Steven starts the close by saying, "Let’s go back to your table and look at the model that might fit your family." When he gets them seated at the table, he takes out an order form and says, "This is where I get the paperwork started and answer any other questions you might have at this time." He takes his pen and starts writing the order.

This may seem like a very subtle change but Steve claims that getting them used to following instructions and taking away any confusion about what will be happening next make for more sales. Here is another interesting twist.

Time is very valuable. If you make $60,000 per year, that works out to about $30 per hour. Since each demonstration takes one to two hours, you are investing about $50 of your money every time you start a demonstration. One technique that makes for more sales and eliminates wasted time is deciding if the customer is a buyer early in the demonstration and then selling yourself on your decision.

This technique involves asking enough questions about water usage, plans for living in the home, finances, shopping, etc., to decide if your equipment is right for the customer and if he needs and can afford the equipment. Once that’s decided, you will be more focused on getting the sale. In fact, you will feel obligated to help him solve his problem as quickly as possible. So what’s different about this step?

Some of us never sell ourselves on the family’s need for our product and their ability to buy it. If you don’t form a solid conclusion about their need for your product and their ability to buy, you will be more likely to believe that they don’t need it or can’t afford it.

What kinds of questions sell you on these topics? In addition to the normal questions, you might ask things such as

  • How long have you lived in the home?
  • Are you planning on staying or thinking of moving?
  • How are things with your company? Is business good?
  • What made you call us this week?
  • Have you interviewed any other companies?
  • How did you like their program?
  • What kept you from going ahead?
  • If we could do anything you asked, what would you ask us to do to your water?
These are just a few samples. The more relaxed you are at the beginning and the more questions you ask, the more sold you will be on their need and desire by the end of the demonstration. This is critical because the sale is simply convincing your clients that your product will provide more benefits than the money it takes to own it.

Try asking enough questions to sell yourself on the fact that they need it and can buy it before you start your demo.

About the Author
Carl Davidson is president of Sales & Management Solutions, which provides sales and management training designed exclusively for the water equipment industry. For more than 13 years, he has helped more than 1,400 companies in seven countries. For a free demonstration tape and catalog, contact the company at 800-941-0068;

About the Author

Carl Davidson

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