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Monday, January 28, 2013

How to Let People BUY What You're Selling, Rather than SELLING it to Them

You know that old saying, "People like to be sold"? I think it's a load of crap. I don't think people like being sold one bit. But people do like to buy things -- it makes them feel good.

Keep this in mind the next time you talk to a parent. Nobody likes a hard sell, especially your summer camp prospects. But if you can help people feel like they reached their own buying decisions, you'll get a whole bunch of happy campers.

So now you have a new marketing challenge. Your goal is to help people "BUY" what you're selling, rather than SELL them on it.

When someone decides to sign their kids up for camp instead of feeling like they've been forced into it a sale, the whole experience will be more enjoyable for them. The parent will be more accepting of your prices, and the kid will have more fun at camp.

How do you let someone buy your camp experience instead of selling it to them? You need to make the entire situation all about THEM.

Ask them questions about the type of program they're looking for so you can help determine their needs. Then, offer solutions so they can draw their own conclusions.  Let me give you an example.

Let's say you offer three different programs. You spend some time with your prospect on the phone, showing them around camp, whatever. After getting to know your prospect a little, and determining their summer camp needs, you are in a great position to help them make their own decisions about camp.

You can explain to them why one of your programs might work really well for them, but another might be even better. You might even steer them away from your third program, because based on what they've told you, that program is not the best match. Your honesty will be appreciated, and more importantly, you've given them a few options to draw their own conclusions. People are generally happier with their purchasing decisions when THEY decide what and when to buy, NOT when someone else SELLS them on it.

Now even though you want to focus on helping people BUY what you're selling rather than selling them on it, please don't forget these two things:
  1. You should always maintain a salesperson's mindset because, after all, the end goal is to get new campers; and
  2. "Not selling" people on camp does NOT mean you shouldn't ask for the sale. You should always ask for the sale when the time is right! Simply asking your prospect if they'd like to enroll for camp is NOT the same as selling them, as long as you help them realize they've drawn their own conclusions.
And by the way, never be afraid to ask for the sale, either. It might be hard to do at first, but you NEED to do it. Eventually the time will come -- perhaps after several contacts with your prospect via phone, social media, etc. -- when you feel like you're at a stalemate. Or there may be times when your intuition tells you now's the time to show that parent to your enrollment form. By all means you are within your right to ask if they'd like to sign up for camp! For all you know they are literally HOPING you'll ask because they don't know how to register and they're too embarrassed to ask.

One more thing. What if you ask the parent if they're ready to sign up, and they say "no"? Big deal!

It never hurts to ask, and it doesn't mean you've lost the enrollment, either. At this point, the best thing is to step back and let the process rework itself . When your prospect is ready, you will get a new camper!

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