23. Are you legitimate or do you exaggerate?

I was recently in Toledo and a sales person told me about a friend of his who sells parachutes!  He said CUSTOMERS ASK FOR A DISCOUNT!

I always encourage sales people to ask for a discount when buying something to see how the person reacts to your request.   However, there are a few exceptions.  In certain cases you might want to pay a little extra.  For example, open heart surgery.  Or perhaps a root canal.  And of course it would be a good idea to give an extra tip to the person packing your parachute!  In these cases you might even want to take it a step further.  You might want to have them give you some PROOF OF THEIR PROMISED RESULTS.

One of the big mistakes sales people and marketers make is exaggerating rather than offering PROOF of the promised results.  When you are selling an idea or trying to convince someone of something, you may be tempted to over exaggerate your claims.  To get your idea across you may feel you have to use such overworked phrases such as:

"We are number one..."

"We are the best in the business..."

"You can save big money with us..."

As soon as one of these statements is made a red flag goes up in the customer's mind.  In your opening statement you have just "unsold" yourself.  The buyer, customer or person you are trying to convince knows immediately that you are stretching the truth.  The customer always has three questions that have to be answered:

1.  "So what?"

2.  "What's in it for me?"

3.  "Can you prove it?"

Instead of using the above overworked phrases you should use facts, figures, and examples in your presentation or sales letter to justify your statements.  These facts make the buyer willing to accept you and your offer.  Your goal is to weave the facts into the conversation that makes the buyer understand the LEGITIMACY of what you are saying.

Notice how these "for examples" offers specific proof of results.

For example, I recently set up a local business with an email system and the results were nearly instant. The company had only 98 email addresses, however, I was able put together a campaign and within 24 hours 52 people opened the email, 25 clicked through, and 10 customers purchased services totaling nearly one thousand dollars. This was business that would have been lost if it were not for the promotion. Needless to say the company is now eagerly collecting the email addresses of their customers.

Like a shrewd attorney, you want to present your facts in the strongest possible light as we did in the above example.

Here are a few more:

"For example our program will increase your profits as much as 6% - here is how."

"For example this product line will cut your labor cost as much as 3% - I have the facts right here to prove what I am saying."

"For example this new marketing system will increase your sales by at least 5% - let me show you what I mean"

An idea is sold not necessarily when you go into your close, but when the customer agrees with your statements - and that is what you are looking for - customer commitment.

The truth is that a customer does not care about you or your program.  They are interested in the things that benefit them - nothing else.

It is always to your advantage to support your presentation with backup evidence from impartial sources.  Expert testimony is hard to challenge.   Having back up information by a third party is a high standard of legitimacy that will win their confidence.

Precedent is the single most powerful legitimization - precedent is reasoning from a prior sale or situation.  Lawyers use precedent judgments to prior similar cases when they make an argument.

What examples can you find in comparable situations that resemble the presentation you are making?  The more examples you can find to support your case, the better.

Give examples of actions taken by other customers in similar circumstances.  For example: "XYZ Company put the product in and within two month's added $5,000 in additional sales" or "Mary tried this idea in her department and was able to increase output by 23%".

Customers have a natural skepticism about most people trying to sell them something or presenting a new idea.  This skepticism is something you should be aware of and prepared to overcome.  This skepticism is also a powerful tool YOU can use for undermining the power of the facts or figures someone is presenting to you.

When you are presenting your price and are then presented with a competitor’s price that seems much too low, you might use skepticism to your favor.  You do this not by debating the accuracy, but rather questioning the source of the price.  Without challenging the accuracy or correctness of the customer’s position, ask how the price was arrived at.

For example, if the customer quotes a low price - ask where they got the number.  Do not object - just inquire as to its rationale.  Whenever a statement of fact is made, or a lower price put on the table, or an assumption is put forward as though it were obvious or non-controversial, let YOUR warning bell signal you and ask yourself "Says who?"

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