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In Selling, Who Has the Most Power? The Answer May Surprise You!

2 min read

At the instant a prospect becomes a client, a fascinating dynamic occurs. The person on the buying side moves from being in charge of the situation to becoming dependent upon the provider.  That’s why we refer to this moment in the sales cycle as the Transfer of Power.  The question for the salesperson is this:  what should you do now to keep your client comfortable and confident— so that he/she will be open, responsive and receptive to your recommendations?

Put yourself in the buying role. You finally decide to purchase that flat screen television. You have done your research, visited several stores, met with a number of salespeople and are about to make the decision.

Prior to making the decision, you held most of the cards.  Salespeople were trying to help you. Information on the internet was designed to educate you. The brochures you read actually excited and may have even motivated you. The experience for the most part was positive.

But then you made the decision and bought the television, and things changed immediately.

Sometimes you start second guessing yourself even before you get home. You know how that feels. Realtors call it buyers remorse.  Advertising agencies call it cognitive dissonance.

Just to stay with the analogy a bit longer, once you get the new TV home, you have to hook it up, make sure the cable connections are correct, figure out how to use it and eventually sit back and enjoy it. But from the time you bought it until everything is working, there was some anxiety, discomfort, confusion, and probably a whole lot of second guessing. Sound familiar?

Now let’s relate that to our world. Prospects have many powerful service providers soliciting their business. When salespeople meet with them and try, however consultatively, to win the business, the prospect very likely enjoys the attention. They are in control. They have the power.

But then they make the decision, and as we said, everything changes.

Because once they make the decision they are dependent upon you. They need you. They will be judged by how you perform.  They are the ones art risk. They are not in control to the degree that they were. They have lost much of the power. That is why we have heard that famous expression, “Nobody every got fired for hiring IBM.”

Again, that is why we call it the Transfer of Power. Now is when we have to do everything we can to make our customer as comfortable as possible, right now during this transition period, right after the sale is made.  We have said many times in our Consultative Selling Skills workshops that the real selling begins after you get the business. Ted Levitt of Harvard has written some great material on this. Anybody can get the first order; it’s the guy who gets the second, third and fourth order who deserves the recognition.

The reality is that at some point we will be pursuing business with that customer again. What better sales prospect is there than the customer where we’ve done great work in the past. The old adage, Your existing customers are your best prospects, always applies in today’s world.

The bottom line is that you need to be visible. Very visible!  And you need to consistently let the customer know that there is no need for them to second guess their decision.


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