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Retail Sales Dialogue, Part One

Over the next few posts, we’ll examine an example of a “retail” sales dialogue – in this case, a homebuilder with model homes open to visitors. Notice how the salesperson uncovers and deals with Pain, uses listening tools, and works toward trust by allowing the conversation to go beyond traditional bounds with discussions of the prospect’s concerns/Pain rather than just talking about the homes this company has to sell.


My comments regarding what’s going on in the conversation are in (parentheses).


Salesperson: Thanks so much for coming in to Scott’s Acres. (Always good to thank a prospect.) Prospect: You’re welcome.


Salesperson: I’m Mary Lou Jones.
Prospect: And I’m Sharon Green.
Salesperson: Hi, Sharon Green. (Use her name as she gave it to you, and give your name in the same format.)


Prospect: I’m interested in buying a house. I’ve come here because I saw your ad in the newspaper, and I’m interested in seeing your models. However, I just want to get some quick information because I don’t have a lot of time, I’m in a real hurry. (That’s Pain)
Salesperson: So, Sharon, you’re short of time and you want to have a quick look at some models. (Level Two Listening – Paraphrasing what your prospect just said)


Prospect: I do. I just wanted to ask a few questions.
Salesperson: Absolutely! (That’s expressing some enthusiasm.)


Prospect: I have heard from some of your neighbors, some of your buyers as I walked through the community, that you are very slow in delivering the houses, and before I get too involved I wanted to be sure that if I buy a house here I won’t have to wait forever to get my home. (That’s Pain)
Salesperson: I see. So, you’ve heard that there’s slow delivery here? (Good listening and non-defensive.)


Prospect: Yes
Salesperson: Oh, my goodness! I’m sorry that’s happened. So you’ve heard that from more than one person? (Express regret, but don’t make her feel bad for telling you the bad news.)


Prospect: Yes. Well, I’ve been walking around doing my homework.
Salesperson: Good for you! (That’s recognizing her effort!)


Prospect: I’ve looked at some of the older sections that you have already built and that seems to be what I’ve heard from some of the buyers.
Salesperson: So they’ve said that there were some delays, in the older sections, and that’s not good. How quickly did you want to move here, Sharon? (That’s letting her know she’s been heard, and asking.)


Prospect: I was a little bit worried about how interest rates may take a turn upward, so I kind of wanted to be in there in 30 to 45 days. (That’s Pain)
Salesperson: You want to jump on the low interest rates and move within 30 to 45 days? (Restating the Pain and demonstrating Level Two listening. Notice that you now have information about the urgency involved!)


Prospect: Right.


Isn’t it interesting how much information we get and how much Pain we can uncover if we just <i>ask</i>—rather than giving a lot of information about our product?
We’ll continue this conversation and analysis in the next blog post!
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