Sales Coaching Series, Part 13: Establishing if your prospect desires, needs, can use and afford your offering


Think of a time when you purchased something and the experience you went through where all of the boxes are ticked in your mind and you were confident that this was the right decision. We all purchase things everyday from a coffee in the morning through to a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. Psychologically, the person selling this to you will have painted pictures in your head, even if it is just that coffee was handed over to you with a smile and have a nice day! In other words, you must get "the feeling", warm and fuzzy, perhaps, that this was a good decision.

Let me give you a couple of personal war stories that happened to me recently to illustrate.

Purchase No. 1: My daughter moved into her new apartment and asked if I would help to mount her expensive TV onto brackets on a big, white wall. This meant me going out to buy an electric drill and to describe the task at hand to the guy behind the counter. I'm okay at DIY, but this was going a step further and I was full of trepidation.

In fairness to the guy he spotted my fear and said that if I followed his instructions that I would have four of the best drilled holes with plastic plugs inserted, that would be so strong and sturdy, it would hold up both the TV and myself if I wished!

What I realised I was buying was not a drill, but four holes that would make me look like super dad! To cut a long story short, the TV looks great and many weeks later I haven't received any emergency phone calls from my daughter!


So, in this case, I wanted the four holes, and therefore needed a drill that I could use with confidence and frankly, whatever the cost of the drill was, I was going to afford and pay for it. Purchase done and dusted ... and a win for the hardware store and a win for me!

Purchase No.2: I recall asking my other daughter to help me pick out some clothing, new shirt, trousers, shoes that sort of thing for my birthday party that some of my friends were going to attend. Obviously, the guys at home wanted me to look my best, even though what I had in the wardrobe was, to my mind, fine. How wrong I was!

I must admit I don't enjoy retail that much, so I was definitely out of my comfort zone, going into this expensive men's department. It was then I saw HIM coming towards me! I had a voucher for about €300 that I thought it would be more than adequate to kit me out for the night, and hopefully, for many nights in the future. My daughter handed me over to HIM and chaperoned me around the store for the next hour. Shirt and trousers swallowed up the voucher in double quick time! In fairness to HIM, the clothes did look great and I felt good in them!

You know what is coming next!

There was something missing from the ensemble and, of course, my daughter agreed. Yes, I needed a jacket to finish it off and when he draped this particular jacket on me, I must admit, had an OMG moment.

It was perfect! I wanted it. I needed it. I certainly was going to use it and as for being able to afford it, what the hell!

To cap it all, he was brilliant, went for the jugular and strongly recommended that I add a leather belt (blood-red was the "in" colour... can't believe I am actually saying that) that added another €80 to the bill. Again, I have to was perfect. So now, had I not only used up my €300 voucher, I was well on the way to more than doubling the budget. 

The purpose of these two examples is to illustrate that all buying is emotional. I really wasn't buying a drill and some clothing. I was buying confidence that four holes in the wall would hold up my daughter's TV forever, and, as regards the clothing, I was buying self image, confidence in myself and dare I say it, a little bit of ego enhancement.

Now ask yourself every time you are qualifying your prospects in future:

·        do they desire/want your offering?

·        do they need it?

·        can they use it? and finally,

·        can they afford it (or afford not to)?

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