Are You Selling What They Want To Buy? Is It An Appropriate Solution?

Let me tell you about my friend Peter who has four children. With a family of six, he finds buying cars rather trying.

Recently he went by himself to buy a new car. Salespeople fawned all over him to show him the latest models; the run-out specials and to try to get his trade-in valued.

He just kept saying "No". Why? They were all trying to sell him five-seater cars. That's what I call an inappropriate solution.

Most times this comes about because as the salesperson, you simply haven't listened closely enough, or asked enough questions. You need to understand the buyer's motives - their 'hot buttons".

You do that by asking questions. Until you fully understand the buyer's motive, you can't ? and shouldn't ? recommend any solution.

When you do, the best way to phrase an appropriate solution is to use a sequence involving feature - function - benefit - consequence. Here's an example using a life policy...

"Buying this policy will give you $500,000 death cover on your partner, (feature) and we will pay it out to you and your children on your partner's death (function).

It will allow you pay out your outstanding debts (benefit) and will let you start the rest of your life without money worries (consequence of benefit)."

If my real motive for buying a car is that we have a child on the way and we have a two-seater sports car, my hot buttons are having a vehicle in time to bring the baby home from hospital, about safety and convenience.

Depending upon the stage of the pregnancy, I may only have a very short time to make a decision. You should know the reason and the timeline for the purchase, and so you must provide me with an appropriate solution, which is to get me into the vehicle before I need it to bring the baby home.

There's no point in you promoting an unsuitable product. It's unlikely that we're going to move from the two-seater to a people mover. Start by showing me a family vehicle; four doors, storage space etc. Talk to me about the airbags and side intrusion protection. I'm suddenly interested in all that stuff!

It's the same with housing. Don't show me a walk-up if I've got a baby in my arms. Don't put me near a busy, noisy school if I'm a shift worker.

I can hear you chuckling away here but this stuff's for real.

Please don't ignore it. A friend of mine was showing a woman some homes recently and had forgotten to ask if she had school-age children.

A simple mistake but he thought about it when showing her a very nice property, which was near a busy main road. It met all her stated criteria but she was hesitant. When he asked why, she said the proximity to the busy road was a concern for her daughter's safety.

My friend soon established the girl's age and went promptly to another property, which was also close to a school. It also met her criteria and she bought it on the spot.

© James Yuille, Brisbane, Australia, 2004.

About the author:

James Yuille is a sales and marketing consultant and trainer with over 32 years experience. He is based in Brisbane, Australia. His free weekly sales and marketing newsletter provides topical information for business owners and salespeople. Find out more at

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