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Guerrillas NaB & CaPTuRe New Customers
By Orvel Ray Wilson   Printer Friendly Version

The guerrilla's secret weapons are information and surprise. They learn as much as possible about the prospect's needs, budget and ability to make a commitment, and do the unusual, the unexpected, the exceptional.

The consonants in the words NaB & CaPTuRe guide you in the six stages of a guerrilla sale.

  1. Need
  2. Budget
  3. Commitment
  4. Presentation
  5. Transaction
  6. Reward

At the Need Stage, the guerrilla investigates thoroughly. They rely on "friends in low places" who feed them valuable information (more on this in the next issue). Three of the most effective questions are: "What are you using now? What do you like most about it? What do you like least about it?" This allows the guerrilla to qualify prospects at the very start, weeding out non-buyers quickly. Prospects may need a lot of guidance to see their priorities clearly. The guerrilla facilitates by asking questions, and not by volunteering answers. Say as little as possible and encourage your prospect to talk. Save your good news for the Presentation Stage where it will wrap up the sale. When you have a very clear idea of the product or service you can use to fill that need, you move on to the Budget Stage.

In the Budget Stage, the guerrilla tests the prospect's ability to pay by asking "How much have you budgeted for this need?" Some prospects are reluctant to share a specific dollar amount, but the guerrilla overcomes this resistance by asking "Roughly, what is your budget?" or "What have you allocated, in round numbers?" The guerrilla persists until a specific dollar amount is revealed. "When you say 'between ten and twenty thousand', do you mean closer to ten, or closer to twenty?" "How close?" Guerrillas deal with money matters up front because people get gun-shy when discussing money, and most salespeople try to avoid this touchy subject, only to have it sabotage their deal in the end.

The guerrilla's next step is to establish a budget based on the potential costs created by the prospects not having this product or service, by asking, "How much would it be worth if you could solve this problem?" This approach will often justify a higher price for your product by protecting the company's most critical asset: it's quality reputation. By using the potential cost approach rather than selling on price, the guerrilla changes the arena of competition, and virtually eliminates cheaper vendors from the running.

If funds are available, the guerrilla moves on to the Commitment Stage, determining who has the necessary authority, and when the prospect will be able to make a commitment.

Guerrillas do not give sales presentations casually. First they ask "Who else, besides yourself, will be involved in making the decision?" This stage also confirms the key criteria for the sale, "So if I understand you correctly, you need . . . ," in effect closing the sale before the presentation. Guerrillas must listen and take careful notes at this phase, capturing crucial information about the performance specifications required by this customer. If the guerrilla can deliver on these critical points, he can safely ignore everything else.

At the conclusion of this stage the guerrilla knows that:

  1. This prospect has a want or a need that the guerrilla can satisfy;
  2. This prospect has a sufficient budget allocated for this expense; and,
  3. This prospect can commit to buy today.

Now the guerrilla is ready to begin the Presentation Stage, and will concentrate only on those issues that have been isolated in the Need Stage. Salespeople often eloquently present arguments in support of issues that are irrelevant to this particular prospect. The guerrilla carries a musket, not an AK-47, so he makes every shot count. We discussed the first three steps of the Guerrilla Selling Track: the Need, the Budget, and the Commitment. Before moving on into the Presentation stage of the sale, the guerrilla summarizes the key elements covered so far, in the NBC Summary. The guerrilla asks: "Let me make sure I understand what you're saying. You need a ___ that has a ___ , and you've budgeted $___ for this, and you've committed to taking care of this by _____. Is that correct?"

When the prospect confirms these critical factors, they have, in effect, closed the sale up-front. If the presentation satisfies the criteria and priorities as outlined, the sale is assured.

All guerrillas tailor their approach and presentation style to their prospects' personality. With the Ego type prospect, the guerrilla stresses quality and prestige, positioning the product as the best available. With the Pleaser type prospect, the guerrilla stresses convenience, comfort, and esthetics. With Authority type prospects, the guerrilla concentrates on facts, figures and the bottom line.

Now the guerrilla is ready to begin the Presentation Stage, demonstrating the features, advantages and benefits of the product. A feature is a factual, observable property of the product. An advantage explains what that feature does, it's function. The benefit is the outcome for this particular customer. "This desk has an oiled oak finish, that doesn't show small scratches, so it will look like new in your office for years."

A guerrilla offers only those facts which are relevant to the concerns expressed in the first three stages. Their own Criteria words provide the keys to prospects decision making strategies.

If they have expressed a concern about "...fitting in with the existing decor," the guerrilla concentrates on how all the pieces of furniture "complement each other," rather than stressing quality of construction or convenience of terms. People buy things for their reasons, and the guerrilla focuses on these issues, ignoring everything else.

Then the guerrilla begins the Transaction Stage. During this critical maneuver, guerrillas retrace their steps back to a minor problem or objection raised earlier.

"Remember earlier, when you said you really wanted mahogany? Are you certain that the oak desk will fit your decor?" This gives your prospect an opportunity to resell themselves and ensures against buyer's remorse. In other words, when asked to write up the order, guerrillas object!

In the Reward Stage, the guerrilla expresses genuine appreciation for the business, and always adds something extra, something out of the ordinary, that exceeded the customer's expectations.

"Oh, by the way, you'll want to put one of these vinyl chair pads over the carpet. They're normally $40, but I'll send one along when the desk is delivered, no charge." And guerrillas never miss an opportunity to send a thank you note. "Thank you" for the appointment, interview, order, referral, whatever.

Guerrillas depend on good reconnaissance, so they track their customers very carefully. A sale is never complete until the product or service is delivered in such a manner that the customer is more than completely satisfied. Soon after the delivery, the guerrilla stops in to make sure that everything not only performs as promised, but as expected by the customer. In this way, guerrillas build long-term customer confidence, and return to sell them over and over again.

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