Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Making a sale in person...

Over the next few weeks I am going to reprint some articles I've written before (from old blogs and a couple from my books).  I have talked about how to get people to your farm (writing good headlines and ads, putting on events, getting a marketing plan that keeps you organized, finding new places to market--among others).  See info about these topics at

But once the person shows up at your farm, what can you do to send him home with the animal of his dreams?  Let me know if this series of articles helps!

Chitchat for Better Sales

Have you had the experience lately of a telemarketer beginning the conversation with a question like this: “How are you this evening?”

It turns out that there’s a really good reason they do that. First of all, even if it kind of annoys you to have a complete stranger ask you the question, you feel compelled to answer. And when you do, the research shows, it lowers your resistance to what he’s going to ask you to buy or donate.

The people who study such things say that answering a question makes you vulnerable to the persuasion tactics he’s eventually going to use on you. You become open to doing what he wants you to do. In that state of diminished self-control, you are ‘softened up’ for what comes next.

I read recently about a salesperson who was involved (very successfully) in commission sales. He reported that if he spent 30 minutes with the client, about 20 of those minutes was spent in just getting to know them, asking them questions about all aspects of their lives. He was really interested. For instance:

“How did you get the idea for your business (farm, logo, etc)?”
“Where did you go on your vacation?”
“What kinds of fish do you catch?”
What’s the profit margin on the __________ you sell?”

His questions were what we sometimes call small talk or chitchat. So twenty minutes were spent listening to the potential customer telling stories, about five minutes were spent telling his own stories, and about five minutes were spent asking for the sale. He sold a lot!

It’s the same idea that I started out with. That innocuous question the telemarketer asks at the start makes the selling resistance go away.

So how do you use this? First of all, care about that customer who shows up at your farm. Then figure out what questions you can ask that will get him talking. But remember this: questions that seem like polite chitchat actually soften up your customer for your sales pitch. It works if you’re selling something or asking people to donate. In fact, it increases the amount they’ll spend.

Plan a list of questions and practice a few so they roll off your tongue. But remember, it’s just chitchat and it sells! Next time, "More About Questions".

1 comment:

Ellie Winslow said...

This comment from Reader, Ellen:
"Well just getting less focused on selling and more focused on "chit chat" resulted in four goaties sold this weekend to two clients for a grand total of 925 bucks! I'm thrilled. Imagine how successful I'd be if I actually spent some time READING the books I ordered from you ( slap to back of my head). Thanks for all the good you do, best, ellen"

See it works!