Last week I started a mini-series on advanced sales techniques. If you missed the first one about buffer statements, make sure you read that. https://www.ccsalespro.com/how-to-use-buffer-statements/
The first episode last week addressed the topic of using buffer statements when gathering information. Today, I’ll discuss using buffer statements to imply agreement. This is an extremely powerful concept if you get it right.
Before you present a question or concept with which you want the merchant to agree, build interest and agreement with buffer statements.
You COULD ask a question this way: “Bill, do you want to work with me as a local business owner to provide your POS system?”
However, I would say that’s a terrible sales question. The wording isn’t terrible, but the buffer, filler, or justification is missing!
Consider this approach instead:
“Bill, I can tell just by talking to you that you’re somebody who really supports the small business community in this area. Is that an accurate statement? [yes] Great! Well, one reason why I think so many people work with me is because I AM a local business owner. Let’s take your situation as an example. Given the opportunity, if you found a local small business could provide the same quality and rate for something you’ve been buying at Sam’s Club, you’re probably going to buy from the local provider, right? [Yes] Okay, great! Based on that, Bill, let me ask you this – as long as I’m able to match the rate (I think I could even save you some money) and provide local service here in the community, it sounds like what you’re saying is you’ll definitely be interested in exploring this further. Am I right?”
For Bill to say “no” to that, he would have to say he didn’t support small business! This second approach uses buffer statements to build up to agreement. You’re implying that Bill will agree with your question.
Consider your merchant approach when doing a demo for a POS system. You might ask the merchant how the business does the time clock. Then talk about that and two or three other features of the system the merchant would like.
At the end of the demo, you COULD say, “Based on everything I’ve shown you today, does this POS seem like a good fit for you?”
I’d say that’s a terrible sales question, but you might close 15% to 20% with that. However, using buffer statements to imply agreement would be much more powerful.
“Susan, thank you so much for all your time today. [Always thank the merchant. Thanking people for their time is powerful.] Let me review a couple things to make sure we’re on the same page. It sounds like one thing we discussed on which we both agree is that it makes much more sense to have digital clocks versus punch cards. Digital offers better proficiency and professionalism. It’s even better from the savings and payroll perspective. Digital will ensure the time reported is fully accurate and that nothing crazy can happen with it. Are we in agreement on that? [yes] We also talked about…”[do that about 2 more times.]
“So, Susan, based on the three things we just talked about, it sounds like you believe there is value in the POS system. Of course, we’ll talk about price in a minute. But let’s just say, hypothetically, you had this system in your business versus what you have now. Would you agree there does seem to be some value in having this system? [yes] Great! The only question we have left then is how much value, right? We need to make sure the amount you’re investing isn’t more than the value you feel you can pull away with this system.”
Now start breaking down that value. The question to eventually ask is, “Susan, it looks like everything we just talked about indicates the return will far outweigh the investment because of the extra benefits you’ll be getting. So, would you agree with me that the value you’ll get is going to be less than the investment you’ll put in?”
Notice there’s been agreement, agreement, agreement throughout that presentation. That’s implied agreement. Susan already agreed there is value. Then just ensure there’s enough value to justify the investment. Susan would have a hard time saying “no.”
This approach is for a merchant who would have an early termination fee. Suppose the termination fee is $500. The projected savings is $260 per month.
You COULD say, “Well, Bill, I don’t really see the problem here. I’m going to save you $260 per month. You’ll wipe out the termination fee in two months! Based on that, let’s just move forward, right?”
That MIGHT work. However, without buffer statements, there’s no positive momentum to ensure a positive answer from the merchant.
Consider this use of buffer statements:
“Bill, I understand you have an early termination fee. Let me just change gears and talk about investing for just thirty seconds here. Bill, suppose I tell you there is a stock from a rock-solid company with a long track record of success you could purchase for $500 per share. But here’s the kicker – this company pays out a dividend per stock of $260 a month. That’s not yearly, but monthly! In twelve months, you’ll have about $3 grand. That’s a huge return on investment. If that deal was available for your investment or retirement portfolio, is that an investment you’d be interested in?” [What’s Bill going to say?]
“Well, I’ve got bad news for you. I only have one share I can sell you today. It’s your early termination fee. By you spending that $500 investment one time, I can save you $260 every month. I think you’d agree that’s a pretty good return on investment. Am I right?”
Obviously, Bill would have a much more difficult time saying “no” to that!
Implying agreement is another case where I can’t give you all the specifics or think of every scenario. Every merchant is different. You must take time to become an expert at your craft!