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Stop Fearing Your Customer and Ask a Critical Question

By: Jay Abraham

Every business faces the vexing problem of why clients aren't buying from them...as much, as quickly, or at all. The question of why they aren't buying is even more critical in a down economy like this. Face the question and thrive; ignore it and your business's future is bleak. So how do you go about finding out why they aren't buying? The answer is simpler than you might think. You ask them.

And then you use the information they give you to craft your responses to their concerns.

Stop being afraid of your customers and prospects. Recognize the power inherent in asking them questions. Your M.D. isn't afraid to ask you questions about your health, and can't diagnose you properly without the full picture. So shift your mindset from supplicant to physician and ask—respectfully and thoughtfully—every question you need in order to understand your client's situation. Your client will respect you for it!

When you know why they won't buy, you can craft your presentations to achieve one of the most important goals for any business: preemption. Preemption means that you demonstrate, by word, attitude and deed, that there is no one else in your field who can possibly serve clients as well, as thoroughly, and as confidently, as you. If your current selling strategy is not rooted in preemption, now's the time to make that critical shift.

Let me share with you the strategy of preemption in action.

My friend Bradley enjoys a successful career training investors in making money in real estate. His marketplace is flooded with competitors, even today, when the real estate market is in the doldrums. When prospects ask him how he differs from a well-known competitor in his niche, Bradley's reply is rooted in the strategy of preemption—and based on his research as to why some prospects weren't choosing him in the past. Today he tells prospects the following:

"My competitor is very good at what he does. But I approach your fate and financial path with a much greater commitment to getting you there quickly, easily, safely, enjoyably, and more predictably than any of my competitors do. I protect your downside better, multiply your upside more, and show you more ethical short-cuts, quick fixes and fast-track strategies that you can use."

By describing himself in this way, Bradley is preempting everyone else. One of the best preemptive methods is to work candidly with your prospect to compile a pros-and-cons list. Have your prospective client draw up a list with the name of your product or service placed alongside two alternative options that he or she is considering. The rest is easy: Show how you're the optimal choice. After following the steps to preeminence we just considered, you can handle this task with confidence and clarity, because you know you're the best option. Business is a science and, as such, works much like the biomechanics of athletic performance: If something's not working, it's usually due to a functional problem that can be corrected. But you'll never even get a shot at correcting it if you allow your competitors to preempt you.

So, how do you preempt your competition? You can accomplish this by taking the following steps:

1. First, preempt any concern that's holding back your client by acknowledging that concern and overcoming it. Think about Bradley, the real-estate trainer I just mentioned. He starts by acknowledging the distinctions between him and his main competitor. Then he explains exactly what he can do that she can't.

2. Second, preempt your client's lack of confidence in the outcome by clearly stating your certainty in the plan and describing what the steps and results will be like and how you will deliver a better desired outcome for your client. In much the same way, Bradley puts an emphasis on the predictability of his approach and describes for his clients his process for protecting their downside.

3. Third, if your client does not perceive the advantages inherent in working with you, preempt this tendency by helping him establish specific buying criteria, including value-added follow-up or transactional additions such as products or services. This is the clincher, as Bradley has demonstrated. After eliminating risk for his client, he goes on to describe the benefits he provides. What he offers is not a simple transaction but a value-added transaction.

There's serious money to be made, even in a down market like this one. If you know how to preempt the field, the sales, the income, and the pleasure of serving others will be yours, all yours.


Copyright (c) 2009 Jay Abraham

Information about the Author:

Jay Abraham is the author of The Sticking Point Solution: 9 Ways to Move Your Business from Stagnation to Stunning Growth In Tough Economic Times, published in June by Vanguard Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group, $25.95, hardcover. For more information visit www.abraham.com/


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