When a customer is not following your sales script and the conversation starts at the presentation stage, how do you sell to them?
The customer interrupts and takes control.
They're not behaving as customers should.
They haven't allowed you to go through the stages of introducing you and your business.
The big problem is, they haven’t gone along with your sales process and let you ask them questions to determine their requirements.
They can have a product or service in mind, and you find yourself answering questions and starting at the presentation stage of the selling process. But you're not equipped with any information on their needs.
Instead of you asking them questions it becomes a conversation with them questioning you.
In informal selling situations such as retail sales, selling direct to the public in their own home, and to small or independent businesses, you often find customers don't follow your sales script.
So what do you do, how do you sell to them?
To successfully handle these situations with professional selling skills, you need to have a prepared stand-by presentation for each of your products and services.
To do this start by putting yourself in the shoes of the customers.
What are the most common needs and wants that customers have for what you sell?
What benefits do they want?
Think back through your sales where you have completed a full sales process and remember what it was that closed the sale.
Then include those features and benefits in your stand-by presentation for when customers don't follow sales scripts.
You might also want to use a really effective technique for preparing your presentation that has proven successful for the teams I've managed and trained. It's called Need-to-Close-Chains and you can get a brief training course on it, free of charge, at Need-to-Close-Chains...
When a customer is not following your sales script, and you're using your prepared stand-by presentation, there will usually be a lot of interaction between you.
They will ask questions, compare similar products, and ask for your opinion.
This gives you the opportunity to use your sales communication skills and pick up both verbal and non-verbal signals from the customer on what they like, what they don't like, the benefits they are looking for, and the emotions you are activating with your sales pitch.
If you are practiced at linking benefits and features to customer needs and desires you will be able to use the information you are picking up to make your presentation successful.
When you're presenting blind, because you haven't had the opportunity to question all the customers requirements, I've found it really useful to use more trial closes.
When a customer is not following your sales script you want to make sure that the information on their needs, wants, and desires, that you're collecting is accurate.
To do this you can ask questions to clarify the information is correct.
Start off with open questions beginning with what, where, how, who, and when.
Then get more specific detail with alternative questions that give a choice of answers, and gain agreement from the customer with closed questions that require a yes or no answer.
Add a trial close where appropriate as you gain agreement from the customer. This can be a simple line that asks if what they have agreed to is something they want, or something they will use.
It can be a closing line just on that particular feature and benefit that you have gained agreement to, such as, 'Would you like to order that?
If they say no, they have only said no to that particular feature and not the idea of buying from you.
You can see more free sales training on how to use questions effectively at Sales Questioning Techniques...
When customers is not following your sales script you are now prepared.
You have a stand-by sales presentation using the most common features and benefits that other customers have reacted positively to.
You will use your sales communication skills to pick up verbal and non-verbal signals that will tell you what to add to your presentation.
And you will use more trial closes and agreement gaining, with plenty of open, closed and alternative questions to lead customers to clarify details.
Most of all, when you have prepared your stand-by sales presentation using the sales training above you will feel confident with all customers, even the customers that don't follow your sales script.