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Express Agent News
26 Oct 2016 issue
Selected article shown below. See all articles for this issue.
Steering the Delicate Sale
Customers can be suspicious of salespeople because their motives are unclear. Do they have the customer's best interest at heart, or are they simply seeking a commission? Research shows that, depending on one's perception of a salesperson's intentions, the same sales tactics can be successful in one situation and disastrous in another.
When the customer is under the impression that the salesperson is solely seeking a commission, a strong sales pitch can backfire because the customer reacts negatively and considers such forwardness to be consistent with the stereotype of a "pushy" salesperson. In such situations, customers react by not making a purchase, in a sense to punish the salesperson for his or her aggressive style. On the other hand, if the salesperson makes a softer appeal, the subtler approach goes against expectations and convinces the customer that the salesperson is reliable.
Conversely, if the customer is not suspicious of the salesperson's motives (for instance, if the customer knows the salesperson is paid a salary rather than on commission), the customer responds more favourably to a hard rather than a soft sell.
The Po!nt: The customer's comfort is key to a sale. If a customer is hedging because they are wary of your motives, a weaker sales pitch may be a more successful strategy.
By Thomas DeCarlo - "The Effects of Sales Message and Suspicion of Ulterior Motives on Salesperson Evaluation" - Journal of Consumer Psychology.
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