Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shopper or Serious?

Every business gets shopped, period. It's human nature to want to look around for the best deal possible. The last thing any person wants to hear is, "so-and so got this great deal on this product over at this place!" It seems to resonate more when it's a friend telling them.

For most home-based business owners new in their business, it's hard to tell a customer vs. a shopper when someone is asking you questions because they're "only shopping". A business owner hates to surrender a lot of information just to see the customer go down the street to the competition. On the other hand, without enough information, the customer is likely to walk down the street anyway.

So, how do you turn a shopper into a serious customer?

Ask questions. Remember, the customer is asking this information for a reason. They have the need, but do they have the need for what you have? THe client wants to know what's in it for them -- the WIIFM factor. Once you know what benefit your product/service can give them you're one step closer to making the sale.

Be sincere. Customers can always, ALWAYS tell when someone is really trying to learn more about them and what they need vs. just being their "best buddy" to close a sale. I'm sure there's some magic timeframe a salesperson isn't supposed to go over, but really, when you're trying to make a new customer, this time frame may not matter at all. Just be yourself, and be honest.

Price match if possible. This won't work in every situation, or else you won't have any profit margin, but you can use this discreetly. If a customer tells you they can get "x" product cheaper online or at the competitors, ask them some questions: is shipping included in the price; if it's being treated as a closeout; is it limited in quantity or color; or offer expiring very soon.

Discount repeat business. By offering a discount on repeating business, you let the customer know you may not offer such for a first-time customer, but if they like your products or service, becoming a repeat customer with someone they know for a discount may sound more attractive.

Ask for their business. If all else fails, a more direct route is to just ask the customer, "What do I have to do to get your business?" It may come across as a little desperate, but they may just tell you what they need to know to gain the business.


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